Shivani: A Romp Through the World of Keith Raniere’s Madness

Ed. Note: A guest view by Shivani presents an intriguing portrait of how the world of Keith Raniere operated. I think it is very insightful.

By Shivani

Just thinking about how Raniere told his followers going through pain would lead to “joy.”

When you look at the amount of pain, such as branding, fright “experiments,” numerous incidents of painful, chemical abortions if he got women pregnant, the use of collateral to intimidate his flock, Raniere pitting one person against another to compete for his attention, what do you see?

Progressively, Raniere and Nancy Salzman made demands on others more and more steep. People had to allow themselves to be humiliated, people had to humiliate themselves, more intensively as time went by, as the condition for feeling acceptable became more and more irrational.

Things could always be made more awful. You are not worthy enough. You might be abandoned by him and the group. You would be told how wrong you were. Your own conscience and trust in yourself was being set up for destruction.

In fact one’s own self-destruction was designed to seem like finally, you were making progress!

The more one fell in line with losing one’s mindfulness, the more “acceptance” Nxivm and its leaders would give. Pretty much the more messed up you became, the better it might go for you personally.

Of course, receiving approval was guaranteed to be only temporary. Very soon, there would be more demands made, there would be a new “issue.”

You are good enough for awhile, until the next time an excuse would be found to send you back down to the pits of self-blame, fear, self-abnegation. Peer pressure would be a big factor applied to anyone who was not “surrendered enough” to the power structure.

Sooner or later, those who let themselves become entrapped by Nxivm and later DOS, accepted worse and worse circumstances, and demands.

MK10ART – Allison Mack, one of the leaders of Nxivm.

Step by step, the individuals and the subsets of smaller groups, plus the entire environment, turned more and more ugly, disruptive and sadomasochistic.

But you had better like it, be a cheerleader for all the monstrous experiences, or you are no good. And you are up to no good unless you obey the ever-morphing rules of governance.

No woman was allowed to have another man in their lives; each female had to be with only Raniere. Meanwhile, he was out screwing around with everyone else’s thoughts, feelings, any other relationships they had or would like to pursue and imposing his sexual tyranny and sadistic fascinations on everyone.

People were conditioned to ignore, to overlook, to accept, even sanction and praise Raniere’s insanity.

If one didn’t cooperate, get with his program, again and again, you’re made to experience shame about your response. You had to take it, had to accept his totalitarianism, his perversions as right behavior, as supreme “guidance.”

Or else things are going to get worse and worse.

Everybody trying to be accepted, to maybe hear a scrap of praise. Yet criminality, in Raniere’s name, on his behalf, was an ongoing requirement for “success.”

The Nxivm criminal defendants. Sketch by MK10ART.

Raniere and Nancy Salzman designed things to get individuals off-kilter, to invade peoples’ mental and emotional stability, then inject their demands unto their “subjects” and make them more controllable.

Make someone feel awful, wrong, unenlightened. Make people feel lowdown, inside and outside. You are all wrong in your thinking, your feelings and must change your way to Raniere’s way, sanction his manipulations and surrender to abusiveness.

Buck “up” or the whole group looks down their noses.

His techniques are essentially his methods of madness. He kept setting up people to experience nervousness, fear, unhappiness. Then, if there were emotional responses, unhappiness expressed, some kind of argumentation or protest, THAT was being wrong, wrong, wrong. You’re doomed to fail, no matter what you do or say.

You were not “advancing” unless you accepted the big, unreasonable, unfair experiences that he and his head minions dealt out consistently and systematically.


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4 years ago

Raniere isn’t mad, but he isn’t sane either.

He’s like Chris Watts – someone who can’t be diagnosed.

He has some of the most important parts of a normal Human Being missing.

He’s a failed Human.

An error.

John 1 and 2
John 1 and 2
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Okay Paul now tell us how you really feel about Ranieri. Sounds like you’ve been hanging out with nice guy too long.

4 years ago

His technique was to keep people in fear, it’s a powerful state. Add a little reward/attention, oh your progressing. Now when you disagree your shunned, put down ect after being recent rewarded. wash, rinse repeat. This is fractionation- reward, take away, reward, take away. This method deepens the state you are in, which in this case is fear.

Fractionation can be used in any form, give attention, take it away. Humans always want what they can’t have, when you take something away, they will want it more. In the end the goal was to break people, making them even more malleable.

4 years ago

” Peer pressure would be a big factor applied to anyone who was not “surrendered enough” to the power structure.” Shivani

For all of the talk about being brainwashed I believe that you, Shivani, are correct.
The NXIVM power structure was built upon bullying and peer pressure.
While the template was created by Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman, people who were willing to follow their lead quickly rose up in the hierarchy.
Nancy’s daughter Lauren was quite willing to bully and intimidate others.
As were Clare Bronfman and her sister Sara.
Allison Mack was also willing to crack the whip on recalcitrant slaves.

NXIVM was like a giant “Milgram Experiment” gone mad where people competed to see who could be most obedient and most cruel.

“The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram. They measured the willingness of study participants, men from a diverse range of occupations with varying levels of education, to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts conflicting with their personal conscience. Participants were led to believe that they were assisting an unrelated experiment, in which they had to administer electric shocks to a “learner.” These fake electric shocks gradually increased to levels that would have been fatal had they been real.”

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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