Don’t let Raniere “gaslight” you about DOS

“Gas Light” was a 1938 stage play, with a 1944 film adaptation.  The premise was that the protagonist (Ingrid Bergman in the film) was correctly noting small clues indicating the criminality of her husband, but he convinces her that she is mistaken in each instance.  This escalates until she is finally driven insane, blaming herself instead of him.

1.  Why does DOS require blackmail material (“collateral”) before recruits are told anything about it?  For ESP, Jness and SOP, all that is required is a signature on a non-disclosure agreement.  But DOS requires much more than that; it requires “collateral” that. if revealed. would destroy the life of the woman who gave it.  The true answer is that DOS is centered on a master/slave  relationship that nearly all would find revolting if told about it in advance.

And Keith Raniere knows you will be more inclined to believe the arguments that the master-slave relationship will be good for you than to admit that it was a mistake to submit the blackmail material, or to suffer the consequences of actual blackmail.  For ESP, Jness, and SOP, there is nothing particularly revolting in the lessons.

2.  Why is DOS based on a master-slave relationship?   For ESP, Jness and SOP, there’s only a coach-student or sister or brother relationship. The true answer is that DOS demands that you degrade you into victimhood.

     – Question exactly what weakness the master-slave relationship fixes, or what strength it gives you.

     – Question why the self-proclaimed “smartest man in the world” chose to educate you via a master-slave relationship, rather than a more conventional coaching relationship like the ones that are utilized in ESP, Jness, and SOP.

3.  Why does DOS require additional blackmail material before the initiation ceremony is even described? The true answer is that the initiation ceremony is humiliating and painful, and nearly all would find that revolting if told about it in advance.  But Mr. Raniere knows you will be more inclined to believe the arguments that the humiliating and painful initiation will be a memorable positive experience than to admit that it was a mistake to submit the blackmail material, or to suffer the consequences of actual blackmail.
4.  Why does the DOS initiation ceremony involve being stripped naked and being restrained by other “slaves” while being subjected to physical pain?  For ESP, Jness or SOP, there is nothing like that. The true answer is that it is to degrade you further into “learned helplessness.”  Being restrained by other “slaves” also reinforces the point that you will be hunted down by other “slaves” if you ever stray.  Why is that part of the lesson?  How does it help you?
     – Question exactly what weakness the humiliation and pain fixes, or what strength it gives you.
     – Question why “the smartest man in the world” chooses to inflict humiliation and pain, over all other possible ways to teach the lesson.
     – Question why ESP, Jness and SOP have nothing like that.


5.  Why is the physical pain during the initiation in the form of branding?  Why not some other equally painful act, like paddling on the bare buttocks? The true answer is that the intent is to leave a permanent mark.

     – Question why “the smartest man in the world” chooses this particular form of pain.

6.  Isn’t branding a common part of sorority initiations? Surprise branding under social pressure during sorority initiation is very much NOT NORMAL. No college or university, Pan-Hellenic Council, or national sorority or fraternity organization condones branding.  None.

Brandings do occur, but they are exceptions.  The exceptions are more common in fraternities than in sororities, and more common in historically Black fraternities or sororities.  Even in the exceptions, it is usually a voluntary (and drunken) activity that has nothing to do with initiation.  The brands are usually the Greek letters of the house, and in a visible spot, displayed with pride.


7.  Why is the DOS brand the initials of Keith Raniere and Allison Mack? The true answer is that the intent is to remind the victim that she is now and forever the slave-property of Keith Raniere.

     – Question how you benefit from Keith Raniere’s initials being there at all, instead of just Allison Mack’s?  Or of just your immediate “master”?

     – Question why the brand, even if it serves a purpose, could not be just the letters DOS, or a symbol?

8.  Why is the brand in the pubic area? The true answer is that the intent is to remind the victim that she is now and forever the sexual-property of Keith Raniere.  Branding on the buttocks would indicate simple slave-status as well or better, and be equally inconspicuous.  Branding on the bottom of the foot would be even less conspicuous.   How does it help you to have Keith Raniere’s initials permanently engraved where all future intimate partners will find them?

9.  This is very disturbing for me.  I don’t know what to think.  What should I do?

Most members of ESP, SOP, Jness and DOS have friends who have left.  You have been indoctrinated to disconnect from them so they don’t interfere with your “progress” – and taught that they have “taken the Fall,” are “suppressives”, or even “Luciferians.” Question that indoctrination.  If they were true friends before, they are still true friends now.

You can reach out to them.  They will understand where you are because they have been there themselves.  They will even understand if you have shunned them, even been rude to them, because they were subjected to the same indoctrination.

They will forgive you.  They can help you.

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Frank Parlato

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Maybe Vanguard started out as a simple relationship-gaslighter?
Maybe Vanguard started out as a simple relationship-gaslighter?
6 years ago

Raniere reportedly juggled multiple sex partners back into the Consumer Buy-Line pyramid scheme days, long before NXIVM, ESP, etc.

Gaslighting in relationships seems common enough that there are lots of articles about it. It seems likely Raniere would have gaslighted his girlfriends into ignoring then accepting his infidelities.

After the collapse of Consumer Buy-Line, when he was thinking of what to do next, it would have been quite natural to combine his pyramid scheme experience with his gaslighting experience. The result was Executive Success Program!

Must Read - Gaslighting from Psychology Today
Must Read - Gaslighting from Psychology Today
6 years ago

11 Signs of Gaslighting in a Relationship

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.
Posted Jan 22, 2017

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

People who gaslight typically use the following techniques:

1. They tell blatant lies.

You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.

You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.

They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.

4. They wear you down over time.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.

5. Their actions do not match their words.

When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.

This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.

7. They know confusion weakens people.

Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.

8. They project.

They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter’s own behavior.

9. They try to align people against you.

Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right,” or “This person knows you’re useless too.” Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it’s dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You’ve never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “correct” information—which isn’t correct information at all.

The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter’s trap.

6 years ago

Wow…That’s a great summary of some of the techniques that Raniere uses to control his minions. What’s he’s also done, however, is throw in some well-known brainwashing techniques like calorie reduction, sleep deprivation, warm rooms, etc. – and then make it a “group exercise” wherein his minions come together as a pack to break down the latest innocent lamb. Nothing about Raniere is new or different but he has done a masterful job of synthesizing various techniques into what is now a deadly force.

If Vangelding were less of a coward, I’d be inclined to think that this whole NXIVM-ESP-DOS-Jness-SOP-KOA-etc. thing is going to end up like Jim Jones’ cult or David Koresh’s cult. But at the end of the day, I think he’s simply a wimpy little mama’s boy who’s still trying to overcome the trauma he experienced as a young boy entering puberty. Oh, and how she could dance…

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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