This is one of the best comments on what has happened to Nicki Clyne and Allison Mack and a lot of other women and men in Nxivm that I have ever read. It explains a lot in the least amount of words. It was left as a comment on Is Allison Mack Still Communicating with Nxivm and in Love with Raniere? I made it into a separate post because I think it is valuable and it might incline towards a little sympathy towards those victims of Nxivm who also made others into victims.
It takes years to break free of trauma bonding, and that is the nature of Allison Mack’s bond with Keith Raniere. It’s not the same as Stockholm Syndrome, but there are commonalities.
She could be compared to a battered wife who always returns to her husband because “When he’s nice, he’s really nice.” But that isn’t it either. Think more of the Uyghur people who are in Chinese camps, bombarded with indoctrination and taking part in self-abasement sessions every day. Brainwashing is a much over-used term, but it is possible to deeply damage a person’s sense of self and idea of what is real.
I think the Raniere’s mind-bending was designed to do exactly that. ‘Rational Enquiry’ was designed to be nothing less than the unearthing and manipulation of a person’s inner world. It was a process of deconstruction and reconstruction.
A healthy mind is best left alone. We all have our quirks and inconsistencies, strengths and weaknesses, but we get by mostly OK.
A healthy mind is not a perfectly functioning mechanism, but it is a mechanism that works well enough. Constantly drawing attention to a person’s weaknesses is very harmful. This is what Raniere did. Constantly. When we do something silly, our inner self notices, and we tell ourselves that we made a mistake, and decide not to do it again.
Raniere sought, and in some cases succeeded, in replacing that inner voice with his own. This is wickedness of a very high order. It is the exact opposite of what you do if you want a person to learn to trust their own judgment, grow, and become a more self-reliant person.
This is more than likely where Nicky and Allison are in their inner lives.
To be honest, I’m not confident that it can be fixed without some extended time in a good therapeutic facility. By that, I do not mean some sterile locked ward. That would just be a prison with a nicer name.
But they are not beyond hope of some kind of progress if ALL ties are completely and permanently severed with the source of the damage.
That is an absolute must.