It has long been rumored – in part by things Keith Raniere himself hinted at – that his mother sexually abused him when he was young and continued it for years – even into his teens.
According to sources, Raniere claimed his mother made him “dance” with her – and whether that was his euphemism for sexual encounters is hard to say with certainty. He gave other hints that she was very physical with him as a boy. Exceedingly so. But then again, he was a pathological liar – so it is hard to know. His mother is dead; she died in 1978 when Raniere was 18, so the other witness to this suspected activity is dead. We may never know. Raniere is not likely to talk.
In the post below, Shivani evaluates what early influences might have changed the lad from a boy into a monster.
It raises the question of whether demons are born or made. I believe this is worthy of study since Keith Raniere did become a monster. How did it happen? Was it, in part, because of his mother – his sole companion for years – alone in a big lonely house in Sufferen County?
If we can understand how it happened, perhaps we can prevent it from happening to other boys. Perhaps we can muster a little understanding for Raniere also. Is his mother to blame for him getting off to such an ugly life? Did she contribute immensely to his evil nature? Did she, in short, sexually abuse the lad? Or neglect him through drunkenness?
Or was this all Raniere? Was he born under a bad star and the devils rejoiced when he took birth?
What about his environment made him the wicked scoundrel he became? And he is wicked. Some people think he is just your average conman that ran his con a little longer than most. I disagree. I think Raniere will be long-remembered as one of the great criminal minds of human history. Give it time to play out. If his mother abused him or not – he, in turn, abused so many women – and for so long – and these were not just losers in the lower stratum of society. He led most of these horribly abused women into believing [some still do] that he was giving them the choicest spiritual and intellectual gifts – while leading them to destruction – purposely.
It is unparalleled.
Did his reign of evil reign begin with his mother? Here is Shivani’s view:
Keith Raniere’s predatory radar, I have the feeling, became inflamed and seriously skewed when he was beginning to experience much more fully, his abstract mind. That would mean, depending upon the child’s development, between the ages of 5-7 and generally, averaging out at age 6.
He might have been more sound, more “okay” before that, but we don’t know. Probably he doesn’t know, either.
If trauma comes early, it is tougher to identify and to start healing, if possible. It is a very steep climb to help a “selfdom” to reestablish its functionality, if that person has been unable to live on the inside or on the outside, with any nascent “selfdom” already blooming or growing.
Ground zero is often found to have already been demolished.
Montessori training and practice taught me about the emergent childhood faculties, woven together with enough language and experience to begin to use an ability to think in abstracts, to consider thoughts and situations, without the predominantly and naturally more personalized and “me” focus of earlier developmental phases or stages. As mentioned, abstract thinking abilities tend to begin to arise at about age six.
Each stage prepares the way for the next level of maturing.
By process of elimination and looking at Raniere’s early life, it looks to me as if his mother was the one who most traumatized him, up close and personally. Plus, his father withdrew from the household. There was likely to be too much time stuck alone with her, and with her not being a stabilizer, never mind a nourisher. She is said to have had problems with booze, with her physical health, etc. She might not have been coping, during much of her son’s early life.
There had to have been too much inappropriate neediness, too many demands for him to take, in my opinion. The child is abandoned, cannot just be the child and be mothered or fathered, be able to depend, to be the child. The parent becomes the child; it is too much pressure. Some children live through it and manage to stay intact, and some don’t. It can become too much misfortune.
It seems to me boundaries were not crossed; no safe boundaries were ever formed at all. This probably included bewildering sexual behavior or emotionalism coming at him as too much, too soon. And no real alleviation, safe harbor. Imagine the potential for mental splittage and for feeling the buildup of tidal waves of anger, an absolutely twisted “mental” health. And consciously or unconsciously aimed at Raniere’s first and most personal embodiment of woman, of femininity.
Raniere might have had to cope with situations which he was not emotionally or rationally able to handle or to process, right about the time when most children enter first grade. This could have been happening to him on a regular or repetitive basis, without him being able to exert any influence or control, as he would’ve been too young. He might not have even been able to understand that he needed help, or even to really protect himself, to convey or to ideate what was traumatizing him. He would’ve needed a lot of help, and it looks as though he had no one alert enough around him to get him any help. An only child is easier to isolate, whether on purpose or accidentally.
It seems that Raniere began using his radar to inflict harm right when he began to reach 10-12. He couldn’t control or even really recognize his desires, but he figured out how to disguise them, through trial and error, and soon enough, through research.
We have heard of his rather gleeful remarks to a young female acquaintance when he was 11 or so, and he told her that she had given him the material with which he could blackmail her, hold her hostage. Further, it is reported that Raniere distressed her for a longer while with mean, threatening, contemptuous phone calls.
He was likely to feel very alone in his thoughts and/or feelings that he was unable, eventually unwilling, to share with any concerned or observant parent, caretaker or friend. He might not have liked to have genuine friends. This kind of tentative analysis doesn’t excuse his choices, but might hint about how ingrained was his pathology and for how long it has controlled him. His hostility appears to run so deep and so unconsciously, and later he used his intellect to protect his growing and malevolent compunctions and intentions.
It seems as if he drowned at about six years of age and was only able to resurrect himself as a kind of monster, who had gone through inner cyclones and without the armor of conscionable discrimination. Apparently, he latched onto deviance, anger, alienation, desires to commit sexual terrorism and a need to be seen as godlike, right while he exercised his rage and perversions over people.
This is what would get him off; tight, rigid control of his sexual circumstances. He absolutely felt compelled to never let anyone control him. It had to be his rules, it seems. He turned that fearsome, inner panic of his, into his own compulsion to dominate anyone and everyone else.
The psychotic mirror. Upside down.