In psychology, self-development and spiritual circles, we often use the word resourcing. To resource means to identify and use a thing as a resource for something that is wanted; it is something that can be drawn on when it is needed or wanted. For example, a specific skill can be resourced to help you deal with a problem. Or a specific positive experience can be resourced to help you intentionally change the way that you feel. Or a specific mineral can be resourced in order to help create healing or change to some element of your life. Or a specific part of yourself can be resourced in order to deal with a situation in the most effective way possible. Or a specific person in your life can be resourced so as to fulfill any one of your needs. However, for various reasons, many people have trouble resourcing and many of those people who have trouble resourcing are stuck in a self-deprivation pattern that I like to call the “only from you pattern”.
When we are gestated and during our infancy, we experience ourselves as being fused with our mothers. We are like two binary stars. All of our needs are met through her. She is our resource for everything. Because of this, the level of need we feel and attachment we feel and satiation we feel and intimacy we feel and safety we feel and specialness we feel and importance we feel with her is unparalleled. Naturally, as we grow and develop and expand, we develop the drive for autonomy… To have a separate self. But we still need to be in connection with our mother. We also begin to add people to our life. We begin to resource other people like our fathers and sisters and brothers and grandparents and teachers and friends. Without interruptions to this process, we end up developing into a state where we have many people in our life, all of whom offer different needed things that we can resource. And we are able to identify and use a specific person such as their ways of thinking, skills, strengths, tools, gifts, experiences, energy etc. that they specifically can provide us in order to thrive.
When some of you heard this, you already got ahead of me by seeing that there were traumas and interruptions to this experience in your life. Maybe there was something about your childhood experience that prevented that initial, needed fusional relationship with your mom; or that prevented you from feeling like you could turn to anyone else in your experience in order to resource them as a child. These interruptions and traumas that interfere with this natural process can easily cause a person to fall into the pattern of failing to resource and instead fixating on needing to find and secure ONE person for themselves, to use as their only resource for everything.
For example, take a person who never got that initial fusional experience with their mother, because they ended up being abandoned to the system or because their mom was totally unpredictable and thus created an insecure attachment, or because they were left in a crib for hours upon hours on end when mom was busy with other kids and other things, or because mom had to go back to work or maybe even died. This person has a developmental trauma. He or she may find themselves fixating on the idea of finding a Romeo and Juliet style love. A love that is so all consuming and a life that is so entirely about that one other person, whose life is also so entirely about them, that they will be each other’s everything. This attempt to create that fusional relationship that was needed, but was never something he or she had, is a subconscious attempt to fill a hole where something should have been. A hole that has been there from the beginning.
Or for example, take a woman who learned that the only way to actually create a secure relationship, and therefore guarantee that a specific person (resource) would be available to them and safe to rely on, was sex. She may fixate on establishing a romantic, sexual relationship with a man and use him as her only resource for everything. Sex is her hook for keeping that resource (him). Not believing that any other person, who does not get sex from her, has incentive to be available to her, she will prevent herself from resourcing anyone else. The pain of relying on someone as a resource, only to lose them (because unlike her partner, they have no incentive to stay) makes it so truly, he is her only resource for any of her needs.
Or for example, a parent is able to prevent the process of their child growing and expanding to attach to anyone else but them. This parent might convince the child that no one else can or will be an ok resource. As a result, the child can never break free from this parent and may remain in a fusional relationship with this one parent all the way through their adulthood.
Or for example, a man has such a dysfunctional family, that he learned people are dangerous. Because of this, he withdraws and becomes intensely distrustful. He manages to come to see one person in his life as safer than the others. And therefore, attaches only to him. He resists getting any of his needs met through any other person. Instead, he demands that this one person meets them all.
What all of these examples have in common is that a person decides that they can only resource things from one specific person in their life. Usually, but not always, a partner. There are a great many life experiences that theoretically can lead to the “only from you pattern” in relationships. But all of them lead to a state of limitation, depletion, starvation and a failure to truly thrive.
It may make people uncomfortable to think of the people in their life as things to resource. We live in a world where society says it is wrong to use other people. But from a certain perspective, people are resources. And we are using people as resources all day every day, without consciously realizing it. We need each other and as such, we use each other. A person can absolutely be a source for something that is wanted; it is something that can be drawn on when it is needed or wanted. We use people as a source for all kind of things. Things like connection, fun, understanding, a sense of purpose, information, contribution, physical touch, a sense of belonging, growth, support, food, shelter, a different perspective, finances, sex, communication, a feeling of safety, confidence, validation, assistance, nurturing, intimacy, and power. The list is endless. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Using People (Ask Teal Episode About Interdependence).
The reality is, one person cannot be your only resource. One person cannot meet all of your needs. It’s not possible. It’s not possible to be a person’s only resource or to single handedly meet all of their needs. People were not designed this way. Therefore, we need to expand our minds and social spheres to include many people, to use as resources for different things. Because of this, we need to do a few things:
- We need to powerfully decide what we feel we need to resource from people in specific roles. This is really about assessing compatibility to the degree that we can put the people in our lives into a compatible place in our lives. For example, if you decide that you need a partner to be a resource for availability specifically, someone who cannot offer you availability should not be put into the role of partner in your life. However, that same unavailable person could be an incredible resource for information. So, you could keep them as an important contact. Or for example, if you decide that what you need in close friendships is calm and quiet quality time, someone who is loud and always in motion and is an extrovert may be better in the position of a more distant friend; a person who you are allied with and who can take you out of your comfort zone. Each person has to answer for themselves what resources they need to have from specific roles in their life. For example, one person might be fine resourcing availability from someone other than their partner. Another person would not be.
- We need to get very squarely into reality about what other people can and can’t offer to us, in terms of resources. We need to learn to resource the right thing from the right person. We will end up starving if we try to get every need met through one person. We will end up starving if we try to resource a specific thing from a person, who does not want to be or cannot actually be a resource for that thing. To give you an example of what I mean, I have a friend who has a disability. He is often losing romantic relationships because eventually, a woman feels like he cannot protect her and keep her physically safe. For a woman to enter into a relationship with a man who is physically debilitated and expect him to be able to be a resource for physical protection is out of reality. Another example is that a person may need the resource of feeling special. But they may gravitate into the social sphere of a celebrity. That environment may not be conducive to resourcing your specialness. Instead, all you will get is fame by-proxy. You will be forever reminded of how much less you are than them. Don’t be in an overlay. To learn more about this, watch my video titled: Overlay, What Prevents You from Having a Real Relationship). Be brave enough to pop the overlay and really see what you can and can’t resource from each person in your life.
- We need to start to collect people. We need to collect many varied resources for various things. This is the opposite of sitting in front of one person and asking them to be our resource for everything. To do this, we need to put energy into seeing the unique value that other people do offer… The unique resources they provide.
- Become clear about what you do and don’t want other people to resource from you. Relationships aren’t only about you using other people as resources, they are also about other people using you as a resource. So, don’t be in an overlay about yourself as a resource. What can you offer and what can’t you offer? What do you want to offer and what don’t you want to offer? Find relationship configurations that are conducive to this and therefore compatible. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality In Relationships.
When we fall into the “only from you pattern” in our relationships, we have the tendency to end up miserable, starved of our wants and needs, unfulfilled and disappointed. We make ourselves as well as the other person feel like total crap, demanding that they provide something that they can’t or don’t want to produce and provide. It’s a bit like going to the hardware store day after day for milk and getting furious and resentful that they don’t have milk. We make it mean painful things about ourselves and about the other person.
When we fall into the “only from you pattern” in our relationships, we also have the tendency to de-value people and throw them out of our life. We decide that if a specific person can’t be a resource for a specific thing we are wanting, that they are of no use to us at all. It’s a bit like deciding that if a hardware store doesn’t sell milk, the hardware store has no place in your life and is of no use to you, and never will be of use to you. By doing this, you inevitably end up all alone, with extremely limited resources.
Every person holds within them a valuable resource or many. The question is, can you recognize that resource? And can you resource what you want and need from many instead of from one?