Alanzo: India Should Stop Using Self-Destructive Tropes Such as ‘I was BRAINWASHED’ or ‘I was being GROOMED’ and Find Answers to What Happened to Her Without Excess Emotion or Cognitive Distortion

By Allen ‘Alanzo’ Stanfield

When I got out of Scientology 21 years ago, I’d have made the same documentary India Oxenberg did.

I would have used the same ‘cult experts’ and presented the same simplistic anti cult movement tropes that India presented in “Seduced”.

It took me over a decade to realize I was using this simplistic anticult mindset in my own life, and even longer to see how much damage this had done to me.

The anti cult movement uses the same template for every minority religion or minority subculture they label a ‘cult’. It’s the template for Scientology, NXIVM, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter Day Saints – even supporters of Donald Trump.

It’s a McDoctrine® that’s great for people in mainstream society who want to dehumanize and persecute minorities. But for Exes, it’s a self-destructive catastrophe to use this to understand what you were doing in the “cult”.

It ruins your self-confidence in your own decision-making. It causes you to wall-off and diseasify something which used to inspire and nurture you. It causes you to mistrust and go to war against yourself. It is the most destructive mindset an Ex can adopt who is trying to evolve and grow after moving into mainstream society from a minority religion or sub-culture.

What should India do instead?

She should spot where she uses these self-destructive anti cult tropes on herself such as “I was BRAINWASHED” or “I was being GROOMED”. She should recognize these as metaphors, then seek the real, objective language that describes what specifically occurred without excess emotion or cognitive distortion.

DOS members Allison Mack, Dani Padilla and India Oxenberg.

Dispute “I was being GROOMED” (metaphor) with the question “What objectively happened?”

Answer: “Allison Mack tried to get me to accept the benefits of having sex with Keith Raniere.”


Question: “Did it work?”

Answer: “For a while.”


Question: “What were you personally trying to accomplish for yourself at that time?”

Apply profound self-acceptance to the answers that arise here. Delete the shame that anticultism demands. Your self-acceptance will demolish the walls you’ve built around your earlier experience and unearth the treasure you’ve buried there: The treasure of YOU.

You will soon heal the damage you’ve caused yourself by using that dimestore anticult ideology. You will generate lots of original and genuine insight that you can share. If you take the next few years to mine this gold, you will be able to write a book or produce another documentary that could change the world.

You could both strengthen the rights of minorities, and expose abuses of power.

This is something India could do.

With all my heart, I hope she does.

India Oxenberg and Mark Vicente

India Oxenberg and Michele Hatchette


India with Nicki Clyne

After Keith and Allison were arrested, India remained with DOS, until it looked like she herself would be arrested. Then she chose to leave the group and spared herself the same fate as Allison. There is little doubt that her crusading mother Catherine gave the Feds some desire to slow down the move to indict India and allow her a chance to leave and cooperate with the feds in the prosecution.
In this courtroom sketch, India Oxenberg gives a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing of Keith Raniere. Raniere sits with his lawyer Marc Agnifilo inside the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse, on October 27, 2020, with Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis presiding. [REUTERS/Jane Rosenber]
India with her mother Catherine Oxenberg


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  • Leave India alone. Let her and her narcissistic mother go in peace. India’s mom got her into NXIVM. India was just kid.

    Alonzo, go back to obscurity!

  • I think an objective view of what happened to India would include a more holistic view of events. Something like I was conned by people because I trusted the wrong people and didn’t do any independent research into NXIVM. Of course any research would have been somewhat hindered by Keith and Nancy lying about their qualifications, hacking and spying on critics, and engaging in unwarranted litigation. Of course I was hearing what I wanted to hear, that they could help me reach my goals, and seemed to be successful early on so I didn’t want to ask a lot of questions. If I had looked into any MLMs, I would have known that very few people ever succeed inside that model but those who don’t are blamed for it. I also could have found out that types of therapy that NXIVM was using worked better for certain issues and on certain people than others so expecting it to work on everything for everyone was unrealistic. Then when I was at a particularly low point I was approached by Allison who convinced me against my better judgement to enter into a master slave relationship where I needed to continuously provide the material necessary to blackmail me into following commands. Some of those commands were naked pictures, moving to Albany, seducing Keith, a extremely restrictive diet that led to health problems and limited cognitive function, and recruiting slaves of my own. I wanted to believe that Allison and Keith were good and this was all to help me reach my goals, so I ignored anything that went against that. Of course not being able to discuss what was happening with anyone outside DOS helped keep me from questioning what was going on. Eventually some DOS members and others went to the press and the authorities. At this point when I could have given a lot of NXIVM members information they needed to decide what to do, I lied and I watched as others lied about Keith’s involvement in DOS and the seduction assignments. Then Keith and the others were arrested and I got to read the evidence which contained a lot of information that I did not know at the time. Over time I began to question if Keith and Allison were actually good or were actually harming people and realized I had participated in harming people myself. Rather than continue to lie about it, I decided to start telling the truth and provided evidence to the government. Eventually I came to see that I was a prime target for this manipulation because I had enough money to pay for multiple courses, I was a young attractive woman who fit Keith’s type, and I wanted to believe that I was part of a special sect that was going to save the world by following Keith rather than live in the real world and deal with the mundane day to day grind. I also recognize that others were even more vulnerable because of their age, immigration status, and indebtedness to NXIVM.
    I think it is possible for India and others to acknowledge what made them vulnerable to this and the poor decisions they made without pretending that NXIVM and DOS weren’t engaged in criminality and deception. And as much as India has not fully accepted responsibility for everything she has done, she has accepted a lot more of it than someone like Nicki Clyne.

  • “she should spot where she uses these self-destructive anti-cult tropes on herself such as “I was BRAINWASHED” or “I was being GROOMED”. She should recognize these as metaphors, then seek the real, objective language that describes what specifically occurred without excess emotion or cognitive distortion.”

    Reminds me of the “What Is?” module.

  • India was not old enough to think for herself. She is only a woman. She was 19.
    If she had been a man she could have served in the military and out in combat.

    If she had been a man she would have been expected to make intelligent decisions. Men mature more quickly than women. At 19 men can be held fully to their decisions. Woman is not really able to make adult decisions until she is at least 28 or 29. This is nature not prejudice.

    India did not decide to get out until she was 28. She finally grew up.
    Honestly the age of consent for women should be 28. The problem is that women are best for procreation in their early 20s.

    But they cannot make sound decisions at this age. Parents used to choose for daughters their husbands and I think it should go back to that.

    Nature made women emotional and weak minded but loving and good hearted. They need protection.

    Honestly it was a mistake to give them the right to vote for they want foolish things. But when a woman matures she then has wisdom. Raise the age of consent for unmarried women to 28 and allow with parental consent for women to marry when they are 18 or older.

    Also women should be allowed to have those names protected from the public. India’s last name should never be mentioned. She is a still a child and needs protector. Same with Lauren Salzman she was still a child when Raniere met her when she was 23.

    Protect these women Frank as if they were your daughters.

    Nicole was only 29 when she gave collateral. Protect them and resize because they are women they are victims because they are children.

    • Your entire statement about men maturing faster than women is COMPLETELY wrong and not to mention misogynistic to its core.

  • But as the Yankees dropped a third straight game Monday night, they saw Kluber implode in the fourth inning and the replacements for Britton give up the go-ahead run in the eighth in an 8-7 loss to the Angels at Angel Stadium.

    • Whatever you mets fan!

      FYI: The lowercase “m” in Mets is meant as an insult. It’s like using a lowercase b when you spell blacks — Frank only uses uppercase Bs — that Woke dick!

      • Then Alanzo’s name is misspelled when he is referred to or replied to. Which is a hopeless endeavor. He can’t be taught, no matter how good the arguments or objections that are raised.

  • Elizabeth Holmes of the Theranos scam is now on trial claiming to be a brainwashed victim. I wonder if she noticed how well it worked for Nxivm crimes.

    • Wouldn’t mind seeing Frank cover this. This story is fascinating for similar reasons as NXIVM – at the end of the day, its temporary success was completely dependent on the cult of personality that Holmes created. Now she is claiming victimhood, which is much like if Keith’s defense was he was brainwashed by Nancy.

      It’s hilarious on the surface. But it could work because societal traits are to believe a woman can be tricked by a man but a woman could not really trick men. Especially in this case when talking about a bunch of incredibly wealthy men. So, clearly, someone else must have been the true mastermind. Again, stupid on its surface but as I keep saying – juries are dumb as F and driven by emotion more than facts so sometimes a dumb defense is the most effective one.

      • Elizabeth Holmes is being tried for multi-billion dollar business fraud in her blood-testing company, Theranos. Her likely defense sounds a lot like NXIVM:

        “Ms. Holmes plans to introduce evidence that her business partner/boyfriend verbally disparaged her and withdrew ‘affection if she displeased him’; controlled what she ate, how she dressed, how much money she could spend, who she could interact with — essentially dominating her and erasing her capacity to make decisions. She alleges that he monitored her calls, texts and email messages, that he threw “hard, sharp objects” at her, and that he restricted her sleep and monitored her movements, among other charges. Holmes was evaluated by a psychologist who specializes in violence against women and interpersonal violence, leading to speculation that her attorneys could mount a so-called “mental defect” defense.”

  • How silly that you want to dictate to India Oxenberg what she should think, feel, say and do. You cannot dictate that at all. You are not India. You have not experienced what she has. Stay out of it altogether. India thinks for herself and decides for herself.

    • You’re kidding, right?

      According to India, she was groomed and brainwashed. But you say she thinks for herself. So if you are right about India thinking fur herself, she’s guilty too!

      Alanzo is giving advice based on his experience and observations. He’s not wrong.

      • Patricia
        August 31, 2021 at 6:36 am

        I write about India Oxenberg’s freedom to decide what to do now, at this time when Alanzo’s article appears.
        You are reading something into it that I have not written or claimed.

        • Thanks for clarifying??

          India’s freedom to decide “now” is no different than her freedom to decide “then”

          And she should explore advice from multiple sources (in my opinion)

          See how I said what she should do? It’s not an order. Just advice.

    • “India thinks for herself and decides for herself.”

      No she doesn’t. Not yet anyway.

      She simply regurgitates the harmful cognitive distortions of anticultism and promotes that regurgitation in documentaries, interviews and magazines. I have not heard one original thought come out of her. She simply says what others tell her to say.

      At this point, she is simply a mouthpiece and marketer for anticult deprogrammers.

      She is harming herself and other Exes by doing this.

      The question I was answering, which Frank made into this post, asked what do you think India should do?

      I answered by saying what she could do, how she can do it, and why it’s important.


      • Alonzo -you were in a cult, which was based on Star Trek. You should be the last one passing judgement or dispensing advice.

    • India is just out to make money, no different than how her mother got famous really. There is no more depth than that.

      By India’s own account, she mostly self-brainwashed. I refuse to use the term groomed. Be glad when the term grooming settles onto something concrete like it used to. Right now, as applied to adults, it really used interchangeably with the term brainwashed. When someone writes “I was groomed and brainwashed” what they are really saying is “I was brainwashed and brainwashed.”

      Groomed used to apply to the manipulations of a person (regardless of sex) towards underage children (regardless of sex) so eventually can ensure legal sex or other advantages, recognizing that their age, maturity level and legal status that played into events that follow.

      Now, it’s used most frequently to shift a regrettable relationship between a man and woman entirely on the man and absolve the woman of any say, responsibility, or agency in that relationship. So it’s “Oh India isn’t responsible for anything she said and did because she was groomed!”. Like it’s a magic rag that wipes away one own’s decision-making in events, thereby allowing them to stand shiny innocent (reminder – she was attempting to brainwash others). But if saying “Oh India isn’t responsible for anything she said and did because she was brainwashed” with that term we recognize that she had some say to avoid events and didn’t. In short “groomed” is now used as complete avoidance of personal responsibility (for women only), the other as recognizing there is at least some responsibility. Terms matter, they should be used correctly yet groomed is now abused by everyone.

      • Completely agreed. Terms do matter. And when they end up in the stories you tell yourself every day, they shape how you see yourself and the whole world.

        Recognizing and getting rid of these manipulative constructs, or at least questioning them and rephrasing them objectively in the way you’ve done here, can be incredibly therapeutic for an Ex “cult” member who has jumped from the frying pan into the fire of anticult movement ideology.

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.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was 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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

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