Medium close-up of a male car designer drawing concept artAs an artist, a performer, or creative entrepreneur you know what it is to feel a passion for your creative pursuits.

You also know what it is like to lose your vital creative spark. Perhaps you’re in a place where you feel that passion flicker rom time to time, but you can’t seem to access it with the reliability that you once could.

What happened to your creative passion? 

In the realm of creative endeavors, where passion and imagination spring from your essence, codependency can stealthily infiltrate in your creative’s journey.

Though you may only associate codependency with “relationship problems,” it can shape your life in other ways. Codependency can interfere with your pursuit of authentic expression and your sense of agency.

Whether in the creative space of writing, painting, music, dance, theater, cinema, creative entrepreneurship or any other creative outlet, the dynamics of codependency can manifest in ways that hinder your growth, stifling creativity and self-discovery.

Before we explore how codependency can hinder your creativity, let’s be clear on what codependency is.

passionate female singer with microphone on stage, closeup

Codependency often describes the relationship dynamics in which partners/families are stuck in a cycle of addiction. It is not limited to that!

Codependency is when you neglect or sacrifice yourself in the service of someone or something. In this unhealthy relationship dynamic, you’re not grounded in yourself – your needs, your values, your goals or dreams. 

You can be in a codependent relationship with your partner, a friend, or at work.

Also codependency can manifest in your creativity and creative pursuits. You can give up vital parts of yourself in the pursuit of your accomplishments. In a codependent cycle, you lose your connection to your authentic self. By extension, your self worth erodes. 

How do you tell the difference between unhealthy codependency and healthy interdependency

Video production backstage. Behind the scenes of creating video content, a professional team of cameramen with a director filming.Healing and getting out of a codependent cycle gives you the opportunity to shift to a healthy interdependent relationship with your art, performance, and creative endeavors.

Interdependency is being in a healthy synergistic relationship with someone or something. You invest yourself from your authentic genuine self and that investment comes back to give you further energy or inspiration to continue to invest yourself. It’s a cycle of giving and receiving.

In an interdependent relationship, both parties bloom and benefit. It creates an intimate genuine connection in the service of both – you’re in a co-creative process.

Both parties become something more through an interdependency cycle, continue to expand, grow and transform into a new dimension. Each sending on its own, but also becoming something more together.

The old imprint around your creative expression automatically comes to life in the present

Female artist painting on a large canvas with a paintbrush, working on the floor of her art studio.

You, like many of us, have your imprint – your life experiences as well as past emotional wounds that determine who you are now as an artist, performer, creative, or entrepreneur.

Maybe you were the child who got attention or validation mainly when you were expressing your art or performance.

Maybe you were the child who longed to be seen for your talent and creative pursuits, but had not been really seen or recognized in artistic expression, despite your talent. Over and over again you’re told art is a hobby, not a “real” career.

Maybe you were the child who got many confusing messages around your talent with one parent encouraging you to pursue your creative dreams, the other telling you don’t have what it takes.

Or, perhaps although your artistic natural inclination was received and encouraged, you lived in codependent dynamics with your family of origin.

All these imprints can leave you in an unhealthy relationship state with your creative pursuits, depending on others to reflect back who you really are as a creative or what you create. The outside is the driving force of your creative pursuits.

Male music arranger composing song on midi piano and audio equipment in digital recording studio

So how do you know you’re in a codependent relationship with your creative pursuits? 

1. For You, The Allure of External Validation is Strong

For many creatives and performers, the allure of external validation can be intoxicating and it can really control your artistic career. This is even more true when you have codependent injuries and you rely heavily on others’ opinions. Whether it’s the praise of critics, the approval of peers, or the recognition from your audiences, the deep desire for recognition and acclaim can become the main driving force behind your creative pursuits. 

It’s normal to desire recognition. We all need and bloom through recognition from others. However, when external validation becomes the main measure of worth and success, it fuels a cycle of codependency. Your sense of self-worth becomes entangled and dependent on the opinions of others or your audience. You feel lost and at the mercy of the external world, which seems to  decide your worth.

Healthy recognition feels more like when you’re showing up as a creative from your authentic self and the audience, critics, or peers are impacted and transformed by you and your craft. You, in turn, are transformed by their response to you.

Female fashion designer poses in office, leans on table. 2.You’re Pulled into The Perfectionist Trap

Codependency often manifests in the form of perfectionism: a relentless pursuit of flawlessness driven by a fear of criticism or rejection.

As an artist trapped in the perfectionist emotional space, you may find yourself paralyzed by self-doubt, constantly seeking validation through the perfection of your craft. This relentless quest for unattainable perfection can drain the joy from your creative process, turning it into a source of anxiety, self-criticism, and creative stagnation.

A healthy pursuit of your creative endeavors is different than getting hooked on perfectionism. It feels like a journey of continuing to explore, discover, and honing your talents, skills, and the creative outcome.

3.The Sacrifice of Self for Art Is a Way of Life for You 

In the pursuit of your creative vision, with or without awareness, you sacrifice your own well-being, relationships, and boundaries. The pressure to produce, to meet deadlines, and to fulfill expectations can lead to burnout and exhaustion. In the throes of codependency, you neglect your own needs and desires, prioritizing the demands of the craft above all else.

Healthy pursuits of your vision, doesn’t require you to sacrifice yourself. It feels more like you can be under pressure but not giving into pressure. It’s more like you continue to maintain yourself being grounded in your well-being while you’re striving for showing up with your best creative self.

Psychotherapy Offers a Powerful Healing Path to break free from codependency in creative endeavors

Female writer in outdoor in front of the ocean.

In therapy, you can begin a journey of healing that will reconnect you with your essence and further your path to self-discovery. You can untangle your sense of self-worth from external validation and embrace a more authentic creative expression.

Based on my two decades of professional expertise I can tell you that an in-depth relational/psychoanalytic approach to therapy combined with Attachment-EMDR  can really help you heal your codependency issues.

The right psychotherapist for you can help you: 

Reconnect With Your Inner Sense of Validation

You can cultivate your powers of inner validation. Connected to a deep-seated belief in your own worth and creative vision, you can  access an inner compass that guides you through the ups and downs of the creative process.

Embrace the Beauty of Your Imperfection and Vulnerability

You can release yourself from the relentless pursuit of perfection and embrace the beauty of imperfection and vulnerability in your creative work. This will open the door to curiosity, experimentation, playfulness, and risk-taking. Anchored into this fresh, fertile ground, this is where your true innovation and creative breakthroughs flourish.

Passionate male musician on stage, playing trumpet

As you begin to untangle yourself from codependency, you can start honoring your own creative process – the ebbs and flows, the struggles and triumphs, the moments of inspiration and the periods of stagnation. Each step of the journey holds value and meaning, contributing to your creative growth and evolution.

You Can Rediscover the Joy in Creating

Ultimately, the path towards unraveling codependency in creative endeavors will lead back to the source of your essence, vitality, and inspiration  – your pure, unbridled joy and fountain of creation. By reconnecting with your intrinsic passion and embracing the freedom to express yourself authentically, you can reclaim agency over your creative journey and forge a path illuminated by authenticity, self-discovery, and more genuine creativity.

I offer psychodynamic therapy, EMDR therapy (EMDR certified), psychoanalytic therapy (certified), combined with CBT, and grounded in the neuroscience of psychotherapy and relationships in order to help people discover how to live fully in the present and create more fulfilling, successful lives. 

In particular I have an expertise working with creatives, performers, and artists of all kinds – writers,  actors, fine artists, musicians, producers, directors, fashion designers, and creative entrepreneurs. My office is in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. I provide in-person and online psychotherapy to people across California.

If you are interested in EMDR therapy, please contact me for your free 15 minute consultation to see if this therapy is appropriate for you.


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