Manipulation Mania

May 19, 2021

Shambhavi talks about why we manipulate others and forms of manipulation we engage in. She invites students to investigate how they manipulate others, including Shambhavi! A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

Welcome everybody. So I promised to talk about manipulation tonight. I’ve been writing about this for a while, actually.

Early on when I started teaching it really struck me how often, regularly, and insistently students try to manipulate teachers. But of course whatever you’re doing with the teacher is what you’re doing with everyone. It just gets magnified with the teacher. It wasn’t something that I had expected.

I did think it was kind of funny because everyone always talks about how teachers are so horrible and manipulate students, but it goes the other way too. So I wrote, “Seducing the Teacher,” or “Seducing the Guru,” or something like that. It’s sort of a laundry list of all the different ways students try to seduce the teacher. Not sexually, necessarily, but with praise, anger, fantastical spiritual experiences, explanations, and all kinds of things.

Anyway, I don’t know how many of you grew up in a household with someone who had some very compulsive behavior. I grew up in a household with a hyper-critical father. He was quite narcissistic and quite manipulative.

When you grow up with someone who has these very strong compulsive patterns, you get very sensitized to them. So for instance, if you live for a long time with someone who has an eating disorder, you might know when their anxiety level is at a certain point before they even do. You just become very sensitized to what’s going on with the other person. By the same token, I was very sensitized to the way that my father tried to emotionally manipulate my mom, me, and mostly women, but everyone too, to some degree or another. I just learned to recognize manipulation.


Photo by Thomas Bormans


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.