Codependency and Contentious Times — Part I

Dr. Anne Brown
2 min readFeb 28, 2022

Probably the one area we can all agree on is the idea that “these are contentious times.” What do contentious times in our country (if not the world), mean to the codependent?

First, let’s go back to our definition of codependency:

Codependency is a learned personality trait that negatively affects knowing one’s self and others. Codependents become dependent on “others’” approval and attempt to control the situation in order to get this approval. Codependents often avoid honesty and confrontation, which can enable abusive behavior.

Contentious Times and Codependency Work

For this article, the last distinction is most important for us to look at. By avoiding confrontation, the codependent does not require the abusive person to change or improve. If the codependent’s only tool is to avoid confrontation during contentious times — “Houston we have a problem.”

Am I recommending we all start being contentious? NO! I have always maintained if we can access indignation early on, many situations would never have to go to anger, or even worse, rage.

If we grew up in contentious families where we experienced lots of fighting, this time in our country can bring back memories. We were children who had to figure things out on our own, so many of us chose some form of codependency. Fast-forward to this contentious time and, if we haven’t done our codependency work, we may find ourselves needing a few more tools.

Where Are We At Risk?

Let’s look at some places the codependent is at risk during contentious times:

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