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Deficiency patterns and charged words

Updated: Feb 8, 2023



Deficiency patterns are primarily what we work with when we do shadow work. These patterns are essentially programs made up of words (thoughts) reinforced by repressed emotions, particularly shame, and that literally is all that they are. There is nothing deeper than these words and repressed feelings. This is very important. The mind tends to really over complicate things by analyzing, trying to figure out, etc. but this only reinforces the deficiency.


The patterns are made up of words, which are like the source code for the program, (like "I am not good enough") as well as a contraction in the body where the emotions are repressed. There may also be evidence in the form of other words or images (memories from the past) which give a lot of charge to that particular pattern. The words are always very short, not complicated, and can be intuitively confirmed by sensing into the body.


There is always a sense of ‘I am’ with the deficiency, which is why it’s challenging to work with. These patterns are identities and feel very much like ‘you.’

Also, the emotion of deficiency is shame, a sense of something is really wrong with me and I have to hide it. There may be a strong sense of “I shouldn’t be talking about this and need to keep it secret” because that’s how the emotion of shame feels. It wants to hide to stay safe. But hiding it is actually what reinforces it, and these patterns continue to persist in the background, like someone sitting behind you on an airplane constantly kicking your seat (isn’t that annoying?).


We do not need to over analyze in order to start to touch into these deficiencies. In order to illustrate, take one of the common deficiencies like “i am not good enough” or unworthy, powerless, not enough, failure, worthless, unloveable, unsupported, or defective. As you look at these words, you may notice contraction or tightness in the body. Is one of these deficiencies more charged than the others? Feel in and see which of these has a charge.

Then try saying it to yourself, for example "I am not good enough", and you will notice tightness somewhere in the body like the jaw, chest, or belly. Notice how this feels differently than a neutral phrase like "I hate apples." Go back and forth between a neutral phrase and the charged deficiency to feel the difference in the body.

This is your confirmation. We trust the body to tell us if the words are right because the body always responds, usually in the central front where all the nerves are. If we stick with just looking at patterns in this way, that they are made up of words and emotional contraction, then this really simplifies how we can work with them.


Once you have connected to the deficiency in words, you can start releasing by connecting with and allowing the “other side” which is the resistance. This will be explained further in another post, but a simple way is to ask yourself “Do I like this?” Be honest and notice a sense of “no.” Take your time here and really stay with the “no” in a gentle way and allow it to be here. This is what facilitates release.

At first you may notice thoughts like “well but I’m not really that way” or some other justification that the adult you has learned to cope with the deficiency. Notice that and ask again, maybe a few times, “do I really like being not good enough? What if this never changed?” Really feel into the body and notice the response in the form of tightness. Then put that into words, a sense of “No,” and allow it, stay with it, and wait for it to dissipate.


I just want to add here that it may seem daunting to undertake this work, but there is definitely a limited number of deficiency patterns that we have. It may be 5, 8, or 10. I cannot give you a definitive number. But there is definitely a finite amount of patterns depending on your particular upbringing and life experiences. It’s certainly not endless.


Also, the deeper we go below the surface, the more universal the patterns become. Everyone that I have worked with to some degree has deficiency patterns of worthless or unworthy, unloveable, alone, unsafe, etc. On the surface, it may be different. For me, it may be not good enough, for you maybe defective. But the deeper we go into shame and deficiency, we start to see that underneath are actually core fears that everyone has related to being loved and feeling safe.


Once we start to make these connections and see that the deficiency was actually trying to protect and keep us safe, they start to dissolve. Even the most disturbing or scary patterns are trying to help in their own way, so stay open to ‘what is this doing for me?’ but not in a critical way. Take on the assumption that whatever you are feeling in any given moment is trying to help you, and this will actually open you to seeing that it is indeed the truth.


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Shaky hands
Shaky hands
Sep 21, 2022

The simplicity of it sprung up suspicion in me right off the bat. "Surely it can't be THAT easy, can it?" but it genuinely is. What I like about the Inquiry method is that it is a rapid dive into ingrained shame, like EMDR; yet unlike EMDR, it doesn't have as high of (if at all) a risk of re-traumatization, and it doesn't seem to "skip" straight to the more difficult stuff. Rather, the addressing of each layer of shame on top of that original program is included in the work. TLDR; good stuff - trust yourself!

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