Co-Dependecy in Creative Industries: Podcast with Mental Health Coach and NSNS Curator S(GBA) on Refuge Worldwide for World Mental Health Day. 


Along our podcast on Refuge Worldwide, together with Florence we have summed up the most important parts, tips and ways out for you in this piece. On the bottom of the page you find a short list of recommendations of literature, videos and series that dive deeper into the meaning of Co-Dependency. 


Codependency is a relationship disorder in the sense that we become dependent on other people in harmful and unhealthy ways. We tend to use other people such as our partners, parents, children, friends, colleagues or artists we work with) as a source of our identity, our worth and our wellbeing.

Most of us display some signs and behaviour patterns of codependency. We let others shape our beliefs and decisions — so much so that we lose sight of who we are, 

The pattern is pervasive. Once you recognize the signs in yourself, it’s obvious that it blends into every aspect of life and self-worth.

How to spot the signs?  

Poor boundaries – it applies to feelings, thoughts, and needs. Feeling too responsible for the way others are feeling and taking the blame, or project your problems onto others by blaming them for your problems

Reactivity – a consequence of poor boundaries is reacting heavily to others’ thoughts and feelings, absorbing their words because there is no boundary. You either believe what they’re saying or become defensive. With boundaries, you would accept it as their opinion and not a reflection of you, and would therefore not be threatened by disagreements.

Shame – if you are not feeling that you are good enough or you compare yourself to others

People pleasing – when saying “no” causes feelings of anxiety, you can often feel like you don’t have a choice or you are sacrificing your own needs to please others

Taking care of others – if someone else has a problem, you feel the need to fix it, or offer up advice even when it’s not asked for. You may even feel rejected if your advice isn’t followed. You are often overprotective of others, you need the feeling of being “needed”, otherwise you quickly feel insignificant. 

Dependency – the need for others to like you for you to feel ok about yourself. The fear of being rejected or alone, even though you can function on your own.

Obsessions – you spend a lot of time thinking about other people and relationships, analysing what others might be thinking and why. Also about the “mistakes” you might have made or thought you made.

Ways to become less codependent

Keep in mind that you are much more than your job.

Focus on other areas of your life – think about the areas of your life that have been neglected or forgotten about. 

How can you bring in more balance and invest in your physical, intellectual, occupational, financial, social/relational, emotional and spiritual well-being?


Question yourself.

Before you do something, ask yourself the following questions:

Why am I doing this?

Why am I tempted to say yes? Who is asking me for the favor, and what were they getting out of it? 

Do I want to or do I feel I have to?

Will this drain any of my resources?

Will I still have energy to meet my own needs?


Listen with empathy, but stop there.

Unless you’re involved with the problem, don’t offer solutions or try to fix it for them.

Practice polite refusals.

Try “I’m sorry, but I’m not free at the moment” or “I’d rather not tonight, but maybe another time.”

Set boundaries.

In order to grow in the porfession that you are doing,  you have to put yourself first, to develop boundaries which will protect you from being taken advantage of, and making choices that aren’t in your best interest. Of course, it might be very difficult to maintain those boundaries at first because, like most people, many really want to be liked, accepted and popular. 

You no longer need to derive your self-worth only from others.

Think about people and situations that make you feel small or unseen

Observe your beliefs, and be willing to question them, Often our opinions are so habitual that we don’t even stop to see if they reflect what we really feel

Learning to say no allows you to focus on what really matters, you are able to take your power back

When you begin to focus on yourself, you might notice that you will attract different people and circumstances into your life. You will develop a new sense of belonging, the feelings of emptiness and loneliness gradually disappear. You will experience a new love and acceptance for yourself and for others. You will also learn to see yourself on an equal footing with others. 


Further Links & Readings



Suggestions By Florence Jimemez Otto 


Codependents Anonymous Twelve step programs that provide peer support and exchange learning.




If you are considering a coaching session or have any questions – Florence Jimenez Otto




Suggestions By S(GBA)



Call for Paper 

Since its very origin, NSNS has always been meant to be a two sided conversation. That is why we have launched our permanent Call for Papers and Visual Arts: a space where you can share your experiences and ideas materialized in the form of text (articles, poetry, essays, creative written word genres) and visual arts (painting photography, filmmaking, music releases). Feel free to send us your topics, ideas or suggestions via