By Barbara Bouchey
In general, I am very straightforward and honest. That doesn’t mean there are not times that I lied, fibbed, exaggerated or withheld things – for I have. Haven’t we all at? Some might “say” they know me well or cast doubt – so I say – give specifics where I knowingly lied to cover up wrongdoing at NXIVM and I’ll be happy to address it.
Even Keith and his inner circle “knew” how honest I was.
Quoting his inner closest confidante-girlfriend, Kristin Keeffe, who, after she left NXIVM, said, “Keith always told us that Barbara is strong and will tell the truth and go down with the ship to do so!”
Did I cover up for my lover (Keith) for almost a decade? If you mean by “cover up” my “intimate relationship” then based on its definition of: “put something such as a cloth or lid on top of or in front of in order to protect or conceal” – then NO – because I didn’t need to put anything into place as no one in the community ever asked me.
If “your” definition of cover up is to not voluntarily offer I was having a relationship with Keith -then yes – that would be true.
I do recall once, after being involved with Keith about 8 months, a Nxivm coach I had known briefly asked, while in my home, and after Keith had just left, if we “had a thing going on?”
I was at a loss. I didn’t yet know of Keith’s other intimate relationships, and unsure if I should say “yes.” So, I shrugged my shoulders indicating “no.” It was not an honest answer, which I felt awful about, and she never asked again.
I will share that this aspect of not speaking of my intimate relationship tormented me – because I am so straightforward. I had more EMs and inner circle feedback on this than you can imagine. But, they persuaded me to believe my relationship was no one’s business. They worried it might subject me to others being jealous and envious, or would not bode well for Keith. On a deep level, I did not agree, felt compelled to tell the community, which is why it tormented me. In addition, it’s natural and normal for a person to express their feelings for a loved one – whether that be a child, spouse, friend and others. It is unhealthy to suppress it.
Keith and I did not have a traditional relationship by any stretch of the word. Many couples who are in love enjoy memorable times together doing “what lovers do” which enriches the relationship, adds fun and love, and we take pride in letting others know who we love. However, we did not take weekend getaways, go out on romantic dates or Friday night dinners out with another couple sharing laughs and good times. I could not demonstrate my love nor show it. Keith and his inner circle use to tell me that was just my “attachment” to the outside world wanting and craving a form of attention by being Keith’s girlfriend. And yes, many EMs and group feedback sessions on that, too, which only brought with it more pain.
Keith use to say I should only be happy with the knowledge that he loved me, and we shared our time together in a more meaningful, intimate way alone. And, when in settings with he and the inner circle, we expressed our affections (true). Keith said I should take joy in the fact that my home was the one he slept in the most (true), that he always drove with me to all events (true), that I was the only one he did go on dates with to the movies and occasionally to a restaurant (true), and whenever I was present within the inner circle that he always sat next to me and expressed his affections (and never to anyone else). Well, that was not enough in my opinion, and also caused me pain.
Should I ever confront Keith, hold him accountable, debate his ideas, suggest other alternatives, tell him he was being disrespectful, inconsiderate or punishing to me (which he did often) whether that was in a meeting with others, or one on one – afterwards I would get “feedback” and a call from Nancy or one of his inner circle to “work my issues because I was blaming poor Keith, draining him of his energy, causing others to not move projects forward, bringing the whole organization down, and robbed everyone of building value.” And, didn’t I want to “work my anger issue while it was on the surface” or “what kind of role model was I being one of the highest ranked people who just blamed, pretended to be a victim, abnegate responsibility, and not evolve my soul?” Imagine telling your boyfriend you were upset because he didn’t show up for a date not calling for days, asking him for an explanation, to only be met with a phone call about how you were “blaming poor Keith” and he would give me the silent treatment until Nancy said I had “properly worked the issue?”
And so, the abuse I was subjected to being Keith’s “girlfriend” was far-reaching, and painful on many levels. You might ask why I would put up with that for years? Well, let me share with you some reasons. One, I did subscribe to the philosophy of working my anger issues and evolve my soul – and – did not enjoy how it felt to be “angry” “upset” “fearful” “jealous.” And so, I chose to avail myself of the introspective tools to get to the bottom of that anger, and hopefully, get rid of it even though I knew at times what they blamed me for was wrong.
Knowing what I know now, if I had it to do over again, I would not have gone along with it. I am deeply sorry that I did not, for my own well-being and others. This is an example of my not being true to myself and is also an example of how Keith with his inner circle could cleverly manipulate, coerce, twist, pressure, use your weaknesses against you and unduly influence your thinking. If I could do it over again, and avoid all that pain and abuse, I would. With that being said, I am the type of person that believes there is “good” in the “bad” seeking to find the silver lining of lessons I learned, how to overcome the pain and find what benefit I gained from the “bad.” I am a great lemonade maker from the many lemons of my life starting with a very neglected, unsupported childhood with a mother dying young, an severely alcoholic father, growing up poor in a low income housing project, and caring for two special needs brother.
And so, believe it or not I have found the “gift” from those 9 years of being in NXIVM, and the ten years since enduring incredible pain, loss and humiliation. The gift is that during my time at NXIVM I did get rid of a lot of emotional wounds from my childhood and life. The introspection and feedback (yes, at times very harsh and even false) helped me look at the areas I was mean, condescending, punishing, insecure, judgmental, opinated, unforgiving, and insensitive to those around me causing harm. Yes, I did grow while there and because of it became a more present, patient, compassionate, forgiving and loving human being. In the ten years since leaving, all the trauma, abuse, loss and false accusations from their 13 lawsuits and from others blaming, accusing, falsely portraying what I did know or do – has caused me further introspection but on a different level. I could take two paths. One, become angry, bitter, resentful, unforgiving, a victim and then become sick or a spiteful person. Or, two, use it to find compassion, empathy, patient, and more forgiving to all those involved; thereby, making me a better person inside. I chose number two, and anyone who knows me well can attest to the fact that I am a far, far better person today for having endured, transformed, and transcended these situations.
If you subscribe to the philosophy that we are here on earth as human beings to evolve our souls, become more generous, genuine, forgiving, compassionate, peaceful and loving human beings – well – then I believe I have gotten all of that in spades, and then some!
No, I did not know from the beginning, and not until a year after meeting Keith and already in an intimate sexual relationship with him, that he had multiple girlfriends.
Once I did learn of a few, I was already in love with him, thought he was my soulmate, and it was destiny to work together to help others and make a difference in the world.
Plus, I loved the community and the work we were doing. By this time, I had subscribed to the philosophy of “committing to evolve my soul” to root out areas of: anger; being unkind; mean; punishing; condescending; overly judgmental; lack of forgiveness; jealousy or envy, etc. (You get the drift).
An area causing much stress, anger, grief, fear and jealousy was finding out Keith didn’t reveal and was having his multiple intimacy with a few others. EVERY CELL IN MY BODY WANTED TO END THINGS AND LEAVE. I was then, and am still today, a monogamous woman and prefer that type of relationship.
Keith and his inner circle’s response to not telling me was: they feared if I “knew”, that I might never get intimately involved with Keith (totally true); like a parent not telling a child something, thinking, “they knew best what was good for them” was used. (I don’t agree).
Didn’t I want to evolve my soul to root out the biggest area causing anger? (True).
Did I want to give up all the good and purposeful work over sex? (Not really but wanted to).
Didn’t I know this area is one of the hardest issues and attachments we humans face? (Yeah, some truth there).
Would it not be great to be free if it? (For sure).
Are there not many polyamorous relationships and swinging couples in the world who are totally fine, and happy with that? (Yes, there may be, but I’m not one of them).
Keith loves you believing you are his soulmate – please stay. His having sex with these other women is not as meaningful as you make it, nor as significant as you are in his life (unsure about that).
And so, it took a lot of deep thinking to evaluate this and how I felt. Have you ever had a loved one not tell you or lie about something believing it was best, or for your own good, or to protect or spare you harm – and then – you forgave them?
Well, you get the drift?
So yes, I forgave him and decided to give it the Girl Scout try to evolve my soul, hope to get rid of that anger, continue to be a part of an extraordinary group, help others empower themselves, and make a difference in the world.
Yes, this was Keith’s lie, but the only one I knew of. I decided at the time it made sense, forgave him, and did not “assume” it meant he would lie in other areas. And so, there was “no pretending” needed or done by me during my nine years involved, because I found and believed Keith to be an honest, ethical man.
How many of us had a loved one, family member or spouse tell a lie, or betray us, or had an affair they lied about? How many of us forgave them continuing the relationship? Or give them another chance? If someone lies to you once, does that mean they are just a big fat liar in all things, and we call it quits or end things?
You have the choice to stand in judgment of my decision to stay involved. You can choose to not believe that I did not observe him from that day forward to be dishonest. That is until the last year, about a few things. It wasn’t until my last week at NXIVM when the NXIVM 9 confronted him for 10.5 hours did I WITNESS him repeatedly lie, deny, be deceitful, accuse me of “beguiling” “misleading” “giving false data” to the other eight women.
WE IMMEDIATELY RESIGNED, influenced two centers to close, told as many as we could, causing 100 to leave. I have continued to help save others and stop Keith to this day, and paid a severe price for my having been masterfully conned by Keith and his inner circle. How many of people were conned by Keith? How many when leaving chose to not go “quiet into the night” and instead confront, expose, speak out, and try vigilantly to save not only themselves – but as many others as possible? Well, we all know the answer to that because there is only a handful of us who were willing to stand up to Keith, take the consequences, and fight. Those people who more than others bravely doing this are: Toni Natalie, Susan Dones, Joe O’Hara, Frank Parlato, myself – and then later on Sarah Edmondson, Nippy Ames, Mark Vicente and Catherine Oxenberg. And so, not many were willing to take on this battle and fight – or – risk being on Keith’s radar knowing full well he’d come for you.
Yes, I did wonder, and care, about the well-being of thousands of people. That is why I have gone to extraordinary lengths for 10 years to keep trying to save people from this abusive group by being as honest, truthful and straightforward about what I learned of Keith’s lies and immorality. This is further demonstrated by my countless hours of answering commentary and questions on this blog while subjecting myself often to harsh, cruel comments and being blamed for wrongdoing or things I never did, and even at times discredited, defamed and slandered. WHO IS WILLING TO DO THAT? Especially after living through almost twenty years of this stuff?
If you doubt this, I can provide 800 court filings containing thousands of pages, affidavits, deposition transcripts (many in public circulation and used countless times by the media). I spoke with countless media, 8 judges, authorities, 8 govt agencies, and helped to get the current investigation opened resulting in Keith’s arrest. And, I have suffered unspeakable losses, trauma, accusations, blame and humiliated by many. When you stand in judgment of me, I hope that you might take all of this into consideration. I could have slipped “quietly into the night” when leaving NXIVM feeling no need or responsibility to speak out. But, that was not the path I chose which has brought great devastation into my life. Perhaps, someday some of you will come to think I have paid enough of a price and penance for my nine years at NXIVM.
Yes, Raniere and Salzman promised to pay back the millions he lost in the commodities market.
For years, I asked him to do so, but there was always a reason:
It wasn’t a good time and did I want to be selfish since I still earned a lot of money?
Why put them in a financial predicament, or did I care more about the good work we were doing or more about my money?
You get the drift. And, I have written a post giving complete and full details surrounding my commodity account which Frank will be posting soon (be patient there Bangkok).
The last year I really started pressuring and both Keith and Nancy got uncomfortable, and said they were working on it but always procrastinating.
And lastly, I was still grossing lots of money in my company, loved him and the community, assumed I’d get it back, and am not the type who is only driven by money – and have been very generous with my money to help others. In fact, I loaned $100,000 to a dozen NXIVM members to help them – of which was never paid back. I sponsored people paying their workshop fees, I donated $25,000 annually to Vanguard Week which I created and ran. I donated money to many causes within NXIVM. I volunteered my time for most of the work I did there not getting paid. I chose to receive an average of $72,000 a year when I could have generated hundreds of thousands in my own company. I took only one vacation in the nine years there, and worked day and night to do what I believed was work helping people to live better, enriched lives.
When I resigned, I officially put it in writing they owed me this money, but he then lied about it being not owed and said it was blackmail and extortion.
I wonder how you’d feel losing your life savings? Or incurring $700,000 in costs defending yourself against Keith’s wrongful legal attack that took seven years to pay off?
Or, how about losing 2/3rds of your clients and revenue from NXIVM’s controversial headline news stories?
Or, when leaving NXIVM had no equity or payout of the value you had been instrumental in building?
Or, being owed $150,000 in unpaid commissions for work you rightfully did?
I don’t believe anyone deserves the hell I have lived the last 10 years being stalked by Keith and his inner circle.
Can you trust me now? Guess all I can do is leave that up to each person to decide. My hope is that by sharing my story and answering every question (and yes, I will get to all of the questions) that trust can be built, and that I’m no longer blamed, ridiculed, defamed, and public humiliated anymore. And, that someday you might trust me more, or at least think 10 years of hell is enough.