You little Semi-Demi-Mini-God.
OWWWCH! What a terrible performance! Get the hook! (get it?)
You don't swing it like you used to, maan...
Super-powers are frequently linked to one's mental state. When the character has unresolved emotional issues, his or her superpowers can stop working. This is universally true of explicitly Psychoactive Powers, but this also can apply to powers that don't normally seem to have a psychoactive component.
Sometimes, there's really nothing wrong with the character's powers; he's just so out of emotional whack that he just can't bring himself to use them.
A Psychosomatic Superpower Outage is often precipitated by loss of self-confidence, loss of faith in one's cause, unresolved emotional conflict, a Freak Out or extreme fear.
- Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan often suffers from this: his transformation into the Attack Titan is triggered by (usually self-inflicted) harm and a strong, planned out focus. If he tries to shift for the sake of shifting or with shaken faith, he'll end up pointlessly injured.
- In Bleach, the usable strength of a spirit is of course affected by their mental state. Doubt and fear tend to limit how much spirit energy can be released, worst case scenario being a complete shutdown. For example, Ichigo's massive insecurity over the Hollow nature of his soul's power weakened him for an entire arc, so much that his Hollow mask would outright fail to release at times.
- In Fairy Tail, this happens to Mirajane after Elfman tries a full-body Take Over, loses control of himself, and ends up killing their younger sister Lisanna. Mirajane's left unable to use Take Over, because trying to use it reminded her of the incident. When Elfman is threatened by Freed during the Battle of Fairy Tail, Mirajane's desire to protect her remaining sibling reactivates her Demon Take-Over - Satan Soul.
- When Guyver's Sho Fukamachi sees the damaged Guyver II consume its host, he has a Freak Out and can't bring himself to bioboost.
- In episode 8 of the OAV, Guyver won't respond when Sho calls for it after realising that he had killed his father (who had been transformed into an Enzyme II) when the Guyver's autopilot had taken over after Sho himself suffered massive head trauma. Sho's extreme determination to save Mizuki several episodes later is what gets it working again.
- Jewelpet Twinkle: in episode 33, Akari's magical power shuts down when she hears rumors that her love interest Yuuma has something going on with her elder sister. She gets better when they're disproven.
- This is the main conflict of Kiki's Delivery Service; the heroine loses her witch powers and goes through an identity crisis.
- Several characters in Kuroko no Basuke have experienced instances where they're unable to access the Zone because of their mental state. During the Yosen match, Kagami, under the stress of feeling powerless, attempted to forcibly activate the Zone to no avail. Yosen's own ace, Murasakibara, always had the physical potential to enter the Zone, but couldn't do so until he stopped denying his love of basketball. During the final game of the series, Akashi is forcibly ejected from the Zone due to the absolute shock of his trump card being completely stopped, when before then he had never once lost at anything.
- In Mai-HiME, a shocking event that greatly distresses Natsuki prevents her from using her powers late in the story. In the anime, it's learning that her mother wanted to sell her to the first District, and she is unable to use her powers until she saves Nao from Shizuru, by which point she fully understands what Shizuru means to her. In the manga, she loses her powers after learning from Nagi that Yuuichi kissed Mai, and gets them back while fighting her mother, after an internal monologue about caring for Yuuichi in her own way.
- In Prétear, The Reveal regarding the Princess of Disaster being a former Pretear shakes Himeno so badly that she can't transform until she manages to recover her resolve with some support from Hayate in the following episode.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, according to supplementary material Kyouko Sakura used to have the power to create illusionary clones of herself, but lost it when her father went insane and slaughtered her whole family.
- During Ronin Warriors, Kento can't summon his Armor of Hardrock after Big Bad Talpa lies to him that the armor is inherently evil.
- In Sailor Moon, Usagi loses the ability to use her Moon Tiara Action attack at one point; it's because she subconsciously doesn't want to be Sailor Moon anymore.
- In Smile Pretty Cure!, Reika lost her powers as Cure Beauty during a fight with Joker because the latter used the former's conflict between quitting being a Cure and disappointing her friends by not studying abroad to drive her into a breakdown and cause her to lose her transformation.
- During Tekkaman Blade, Blade goes into an Unstoppable Rage after exceeding his time limit. When he recovers, he goes into a Freak Out and is so afraid that it will happen again that he can't transform.
- DC Comics Bombshells: After Supergirl's little sister Stargirl dies, Supergirl becomes so depressed that she loses the ability to fly. She regains it when she meets her clones Power Girl and Superman, and realizes she still has family.
- When Wally West became The Flash, he was rife with Heroic Self-Deprecation. Never being able to see himself living up to his late mentor Barry Allen's legacy, he was haunted by the nightmares of Barry being ashamed of him. As a result, he mentally limited himself to speed of sound for a long time. After the famous The Return of Barry Allen story, he was finally able to make peace with himself and eventually surpassed all of Barry's benchmarks.
- Green Lantern: Kyle Rayner loses his powers when his confidence is shattered by Megaddon.
- Given that the various colored lantern rings are powered by emotion, this can be a pretty common occurrence. A Green Lantern filled with fear and self-doubt, or a Blue Lantern who loses hope, would be left virtually powerless.
- This is especially dangerous for Blue Lanterns- to the point that it even happens to Saint Walker himself.
- Spider-Man: In Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (published in 1964), Spider-Man seemed to lose his powers after a bout of guilt over his uncle Ben's death. He regained them just in time to face off against the Sinister Six, an alliance of his biggest villains at the time. He even admitted to himself that his temporary power loss was probably psychosomatic in nature.
- Marvel Comics character Gladiator of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard is often the victim of this. Justified because his powers are fueled by self-confidence. As long as he feels like an unstoppable super badass, he's an unstoppable super badass. But if something shakes his confidence, his powers suffer a drop, leading to his confidence dropping even further, leading to his powers falling further...
- What prevents Li figuring out that he was a firebender in Foxfire is that he's not angry. Without Zuko's anger, Li is forced to start from scratch which helps in rediscovering a lost form of firebending.
- In Perfection is Overrated, this happens to Natsuki in similar circumstances as in canon, although she only realizes what has happened when she learns Yukariko has betrayed the others, tries and fails to summon Duran to defend herself and gets pulled into Yukariko's Lotus-Eater Machine as a result.
- Moana: After reclaiming his magical fishhook, Maui finds that a thousand years without it have left him woefully out of practice and he has lost control over his shapeshifting. Unfortunately, he discovers this just as he confronts Tamatoa who proceeds to mop the wall with him while delivering the Break Them by Talking section in his song "Shiny". For a demigod that thrives on human adoration and has a severe Inferiority Superiority Complex , Maui spirals into a negative mental state that perpetuates his power outage. Once Moana gets him thinking positively again, however, he regains the knack.
- During Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker loses his powers because he is unconsciously conflicted about whether or not to continue being Spider-Man. Given the suggestive nature of his powers, the whole thing looks a lot like a man struggling with stress-related impotence. (With the webs being made from a sticky fluid coming out of his body, the parallel is even stronger.) This plot element may have been suggested by a similar plot point in 1964's Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.
- In After the Golden Age, this happens to the superhero Typhoon. She loses the ability to use her powers after accidentally killing a police officer.
- The Black Witch Chronicles: Icarals who grow up being told they're foul and evil, like Ariel and Wynter, develop stunted wings and can't fly.
- The Dresden Files: This happened to Mortimer Linquist, Chicago's resident ectomancer. Apparently he felt guilty about faking a few ghosts (despite his whole power revolving around real ghosts) or something, and lost confidence, which then made him doubt his abilities, which disrupted them further, which caused him to lose confidence... by Dead Beat he's nearly powerless. Harry gives him a pep talk, and by Ghost Story he's recovered.
- This happens to Tonks in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. She loses control of her metamorphmagus powers in her depression over both Sirius' death and her feelings for Lupin. We later learn that this also happened to Merope, when she was under the thumbs of her brother and father, and Dumbledore's sister Ariana after being attacked by a group of Muggle boys.
- In Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar, this sometimes happens with Heralds whose Gifts are less tangible, like Empathy and True Magic if you try to use it and it doesn't work, you start to disbelieve in your Gift a little. This gives Talia trouble, because she's the first Herald in a long time to have Empathy as her primary Gift, and nobody really knows how to train her properly.
- Journey to Chaos:
- Annala starts the series without the shapeshifting ability inherent to her species because of trauma related to it as well as a Crisis of Faith. A Vision Quest in Transcending Limitations helps her to resolve the crisis and regain her shapeshifting.
- In the immediate aftermath of his mana mutation, Eric finds himself unable to use his Casting a Shadow based spells due to confusion regarding his new identity. As he gets more used to thinking of himself as a grendel instead of a human, he regains this ability as well greater control over his physical transformations.
- In The Stormlight Archive, Kaladin draws his Surgebinding powers from his bond with Sylphrena, a spirit of pure honor. This means that when he starts behaving dishonorably, the bond weakens and his powers fade.
- This was practically a mantra on Charmed (1998). "Your powers are tied to your emotions."
- A variation in The Flash (2014). A Villain of the Week drains Barry's superspeed, leaving him unable to go fast (in fact, Cisco observes that Barry's running speed is lower than a normal person's). Barry tries to shock himself to get his powers back, but it doesn't seem to work. However, when Dr. Wells is about to be killed by the same meta-human, not only do Barry's powers return, but they kick into overdrive, and he ends moving faster than lightning. Wells later observes in a log that his initial speculation that Barry needed to focus on increasing his speed at the expense of his personal relationships and concern for the victims was mistaken. Indeed, Barry's concern for the people he cares about is what fuels his speed. The same thing happens in season 4, when Iris being in danger throws off Barry's temporary insanity and boosts his speed even faster, allowing him to break out of the Pipeline (something no one else managed to do without trickery).
- John Locke of Lost loses his Island-restored ability to walk after an incident of self-doubt.
- In Wild Talents, if you run out of willpower, your powers lose strength and become unreliable.
- Somewhat implied in Mass Effect 2. Your party members gain their final powers after you help resolve their emotional baggage. Of course, while some of them have actual powers (Miranda's Slam, Samara's Reave), others apparently have a psychosomatic power outage on their ability to...use variant ammo types.
- Hazard from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is a super-athletic martial artist whose powers and abilities depend on the strength of his willpower. Normally, he's able to shrug off things that would completely disable normal people. If his confidence in himself is ever shaken, all his strengths and skills disappear.
- After Zuko does his HeelFace Turn in Avatar: The Last Airbender, he loses his firebending powers for a while, since he no longer feels the anger (re: Emotional Drive) that fueled them.
- The animated series Generator Rex features a hero whose powers flicker on and off depending on his feelings at the time.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Bridle Gossip", Twilight Sparkle wakes up in the morning and uses her magic to brush her hair. But the moment she sees her horn is floppy (apparently cursed but really afflicted by exposure to the "poison joke" plant), she drops her brush, and doesn't use her powers again until she is cured.
- Star Wars Rebels:
- Ezra Bridger had this happen to him in his backstory. He has abnormally strong empathic abilities, even for a Jedi, but after losing his parents and being abandoned he emotionally shut down. It isn't until he bonds with his new family and forgives the person who abandoned him that he regains it.
- Kanan's Heroic BSoD between seasons 2 and 3 severely limits his ability to sense things through the Force, to the point where he can't even tell his own padawan is in danger until he snaps out of it.
- This is a staple of Steven Universe where the titular hero needs to be in a particular state of mind to make his powers work. In particular, Steven healed his dad's leg, Greg pretended it didn't work, and Steven actually couldn't heal anymore for over a year. This is frequently lampshaded.
Steven: Of course it is tied to my emotions. Like all my stupid powers...
- Teen Titans:
- Raven's powers stop working when the monsters in a horror movie they're watching come to life. Except they're actually working perfectly well, just out of her control. She's subconsciously creating the monsters and can't divert her powers to intentional uses until she admits the movie actually scared her.
- Starfire needs to feel happy to fly, so when she's depressed or emotionally confused, she loses the ability to fly.
- Young Justice:
- In Season 3 Outsiders, Black Lightning temporarily loses the ability to generate his trademark lightning when he unintentionally kills a metahuman who turned out to be a fourteen-year-old girl. This lasts throughout a couple more episodes. Seeing another young girl brutally killed by a metahuman (fortunately said young girl has the power to resurrect from death though he didn't know this at the time) causes his powers to return.
- Said young girl, Halo aka Violet Harper, ends up suffering a case of this as well in "True Heroes". Since she was originally a Mother Box before her spirit entered the deceased Gabrielle Daou's body she temporarily loses her powers due to a panic attack. Her original Mother Box self wasn't designed to handle all of the emotions that come with being human. Especially not the emotions that come with being a young woman in love.