Energy stealing by other people is a real phenomenon and goes on all the time. It can occur at the individual level, as we covered already in the article on dealing with energy vampires, and at the group level via culture, which we are exploring in this article.
Your cultural context has a profound impact on your thinking, behaviour, beliefs, and ultimately your health and energy levels as well.
A culture is a way of life of a group of people, including the behaviours, beliefs, values, and symbols they accept, generally, without thinking about them and are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
“Who you hang out with is who you become”
Success Coach, Antony Robbins
What the Science Shows
Tremendous amounts of research in mainstream journals have confirmed that the dominant beliefs and behaviours of those around you and your culture directly impact your behaviour.
In a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007, called “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years”, researchers followed 12,067 people from the Framingham Heart Study and studied their connections (as shown in the diagram below) and found:
“A person’s chances of becoming obese increased by 57% if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given interval. Among pairs of adult siblings, if one sibling became obese, the chance that the other would become obese increased by 40%. If one spouse became obese, the likelihood that the other spouse would become obese increased by 37%. These effects were not seen among neighbors in the immediate geographic location. Persons of the same sex had relatively greater influence on each other than those of the opposite sex.”
Study after study has shown that the dietary habits of your friends and social network directly impact the way you eat and are a major contributing factor to the spread of our current obesity epidemic.
You Will Be as Happy…as Your Friends Are
In 2008, a study published in the British Medical Journal concluded a similar impact of our social network on our happiness levels.
Over a 20-year period, following people in the Framingham Heart Study, researchers found:
“People who are surrounded by many happy people and those who are central in the network are more likely to become happy in the future. A friend who lives within a mile (about 1.6 km) and who becomes happy increases the probability that a person is happy by 25%. Similar effects are seen in co-resident spouses, siblings who live within a mile, and next door neighbours (34%, 7% to 70%). Effects are not seen between co-workers. The effect decays with time and with geographical separation.”
The researchers concluded: “People’s happiness depends upon the happiness of others with whom they are connected.”
Cultural Beliefs and The Nocebo Effect
Belief systems have a profound impact on us; therefore, what is generally believed about an illness in a cultural context (e.g. cancer is incurable, HIV linked with stigmatized behaviours, and chronic fatigue syndrome “doesn’t exist”) can become manifest truth for us or have a very negative impact.
Most people understand the placebo effect, a powerful strong belief that an intervention will result in our recovery from an illness results in recovery even when just taking a sugar pill. The positive belief alone is enough.
The nocebo effect is the opposite; if we powerfully believe in a negative outcome, it can also manifest.
In a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, called “Nocebos Contribute to Host of Ills”, the author states: “In the Framingham Heart Study, women who believed they are prone to heart disease were nearly four times as likely to die as women with similar risk factors who didn’t believe.”
Supercharging your energy to uncommon or remarkable levels may take breaking through conventional pervasive belief systems
How Overt Group Energy Stealing Occurs
Remember, any form of overt or covert abuse creates an energy “knot” and an imbalance in a person.
It is experienced as a disconnection from your internal source of balance and love.
This loss of flow and balance in your energy field is experienced in many ways, from low self-esteem and fatigue to all kinds of addictive or destructive behaviours. Read about the full impact of energy stealing in the article How to Deal With Energy Vampires and Detox Your Relationships.
A side effect of taking energy from people is it enables control over the person or group, who are now disconnected from their own internal balanced energy field.
Obviously, militaristic dictatorships and religions that suppress women and human rights, in general, overtly use violence, intimidation, public shaming, and terror to steal energy and dominate their own people.
In the West, subtler paternalistic cultures that downplay emotional, right brain intuitive, and creative pursuits is a form energy stealing. For example, paternalistic medical cultures that dehumanize individuals in a clinical setting steal energy from patients and can make people sicker.
A study in 2011 concluded, “When patients perceive clinicians as empathetic, rating them perfect on the CARE tool, the severity, duration and objective measures (IL-8 and neutrophils) of the common cold significantly change.”
Covert Group Energy Stealing
A less understood method of energy stealing occurs when a person or organisation does not have the overt paternalistic power, so covert methods are used, which include flattery, excess attention, seduction, and validation through giving attention, money, or power to the person.
This knocks the person or group off from being connected to their own energy source and love, then they become vulnerable and reliant on this external source of energy.
Societies that give energy and attention to “winners”, external beauty, and youth encourage an imbalanced energy field.
Corporate cultures, schools, and professions that celebrate having intellectual success, becoming a respectable professional (e.g. scientist, doctor, accountant), or working for a respectable company also encourage disconnection from self.
This often fosters workaholism, in-built fear of failure, and an inability to admit mistakes publically, as the risk is not just the loss of status and financial security. When you understand energy dynamics, you realise it was literally a lifeline, energetically.
Once again, the reliance on external energy sources makes these groups of people open to a great deal of manipulation and control.
You can see that dress is used to manipulate in society too – e.g. police and military uniforms are used to intimidate. Of course, we all know people (often women) will use the way they dress to gain attention.
Tips for Protecting Yourself
- Take an inventory of how cultural or group beliefs are impacting you and your well-being, both in group and one-to-one interactions.
- Join groups and spend time with people, who have the values and beliefs you wish to espouse, and limit your time with people and group situations, who limit your beliefs or minimize your values.
- Heal your own emotional trauma, so you are less vulnerable to societal energy stealing (coming soon!)
- Be prepared to deal with “emotional detoxification” reactions as you start to resolve your own emotional trauma
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