Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

Codependency…

The gift that keeps on taking.

It’s been a difficult day. I made a really tough choice last week that I know without a doubt was the right one, but then I lied. The action I took impacted someone else; I felt it would hurt her more if she knew it was me. So I lied, which was so much worse. And I asked others to lie for me, which they did.

She found out this morning, and I wasn’t the one to tell her. Here’s a lesson she taught me: Even if you make a call to the police requesting a wellness check and ask to remain anonymous, the report still includes your phone number.

I made a really awful mistake in omitting the truth, and I’m totally swimming in guilt for that piece now. It’s eating me up.

I meant well; I swear I did. I was looking out for the welfare of my friend. And I allowed my codependency to dictate that I lie to her about it, because I didn’t want her to be mad at me.

When I got the text from her this morning, saying she knew it was me, I went into a panic at home, in front of my daughter.

I turned my fear on my little 9-year old girl. I lectured that we were running late for school. I insisted she get out the door and go to the car. When she didn’t, I barged out and threw the screen door shut behind me. I did this while she was reading aloud a card from the “Acts of Kindness” advent calendar I’d put up for December. She was actually telling me that today we needed to make a new friend when I threw the door shut in her face.

The second the screen door banged against the frame, I froze, realizing what I had just done. And I began to cry. I turned and immediately apologized and asked her to forgive me. She asked me to stop crying — that my tears hurt her more than my brief moment of anger. And, because kids are brilliant and honest and loving, she forgave me without hesitation.

So, in addition to the guilt that’s been pulsating in my veins since last Thursday, I had now added crippling shame to my burden.

I have made mistakes. I know this is where I am supposed to forgive myself. I was honestly doing the best I could. I totally messed up and I feel like the world’s worst human. And the thing is, all of this resulted from my desperate need to help someone else (despite no one asking me to do so).

Once I got to work and managed to stop crying this morning, I immediately grabbed tweezers and picked skin off my face until I bled, and then I inhaled what likely amounted to around 2,000 calories of junk food.

This is where I’m supposed to release and let go. “What I’m supposed to do” is a really destructive thought, because it translates to, “You’re doing the wrong thing right now when you should be doing the right thing.”

This is how I feel right now.

And also this.

Think of all the ways I messed up. Feel helpless to move forward. Bury myself in self-hate and land in a state of mental paralysis. This is my day.

I know I can’t control anything beyond my own reactions, but man. Knowing something and accepting something are two very, very different things.

It doesn’t help that the incessant wind is blowing like crazy outside today. It’s loud and intrusive and makes my skin crawl. I hate it.

I also hate ending on a negative note, but it is what it is. All I want to do is be still, but the air around me is angry and demanding. And you can’t see any of it.

Update: My husband just had these beautiful flowers delivered to me at work, and the wind has temporarily settled, both literally and metaphorically. So, the ending is now a little brighter than I anticipated.

Books I’m Currently Not Reading.

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