Deficit Mode

From The SpiritWiki

Deficit Mode is an Ego Mode of the Physical Unit that occurs when most of the available biological energy goes towards meeting unmet needs caused by violence and neglect.[1]. To be clear, when operating in deficit mode, a substantial portion of available energy goes towards attempting to meet unmet needs.

List of Ego Modes

Ego Modes > Defense Mode, Deficit Mode, Growth Mode, Repair Mode, Survival Mechanism

Related LP Terms

Deficit Mode > Bodily Ego, Healthy Socialization, Physical Unit, Seven Essential Needs, Sufficient Satisfaction, The Work, Toxic Socialization

Non-LP Related Terms

Deficit Mode > Essential Needs, Health, Human Development, Needs


"I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous." — Mary Shelley, "Frankenstein"

Abraham Maslow was aware of Deficit Mode, what he called Deficiency Motivation. "Most individuals, driven by unfulfilled needs for safety, respect, or esteem, construct value systems that express selfishness or anxiety about others; but those who are satisfied in their basic needs "can devote [themselves] to higher gratification [and are] more identified with humanity than any other group yet described."[2]

A physical unit in deficit mode creates conditions to support immediate satisfaction of needs.

When a physical unit enters deficit mode, lower centers in the brain preempt higher centers and take over control, assuming the power to drive the organism towards immediate needs gratification.

In an ideal situation, deficits are acute and satisfaction of needs proceeds as the normal and conscious result of daily activities of the individual and the social and economic networks. When ideal situations do not apply, daily deficits occur and may even accumulate over time.

When faced with chronic deficit, chronic assault, and chronic need to heal, all body systems, and all available energy resources, eventually turn towards satisfying unmet needs, defense, and healing. If you are thirsty and have not had a drink of water for two days your physical unit will do nothing but seek out fluids. The longer you go without fluids, the more desperate will your gratification activities become. Eventually you will devote all available bodily resources to the task of satisfying your need for water. The exact same dynamic applies to unmet psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs. These are real needs just like the need for water and when they are unmet the body devotes more and more of its resources to increasingly desperate attempts to meet the needs.

Chronic deprivation of needs leads inevitably to neurosis, psychosis, and even physical illness.

In serious cases of chronic deprivation and assault, the physical unit becomes disconnected (see Connection). In addition, higher cognitive functions, in particular self-awareness, are disabled. The disabling of self-awareness is a survival mechanism that allows the organism to pursue defense and gratification activities without concern for [Alignment]]. Serious long term assault and deficit may lead to Sociopathy

It is important to emphasize that even though chronic deprivation can lead to psychopathology, even sociopathy, we should not view the energetic focusing and lack of self-awareness that develops as pathological. Energetic focusing and the disconnection of the higher brain faculties is an adaptive response to survival exigencies naturally selected. [expand]

It needs to be said that even though the deficit mode of the physical unit is a natural result of environmental pressures, all personal, social, economic, and political efforts should be directed towards ensuring the physical unit never enters into deficit mode. [expand]

Petey Stevens was aware that unmet needs "close" or "shut down" and individual. "If a baby's caretakers are not available to the baby because of death or another absence such as work, are not supportive, or are abusive because of emotional immaturity or immorality, the baby grows up with negative 'charge' and self-destructive beliefs attached to his or her communications. The ... person is "shut down" or closed" to his or her soul's feelings or truth."[3]


  1. Lightning Path Workbook Two: Healing. Lightning Path Press.
  2. Maslow quoted in Edward Hoffman, The Right to Be Human: A Biography of Abraham Maslow (New York: McGraw Hill, 1999), 4395.
  3. Stevens, Petey. Opening up to Your Psychic Self. Nevertheless Press, 1983. p. ii