I have been a seeker as long as I can remember. In between driving carpool, school plays, and my children’s sports events. I traveled to the far corners of the globe to work with healers, gurus, and teachers and even had the pleasure of a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Thankfully I am blessed with a very supportive husband.
I was in search of my clarity, my confidence, and my purpose. I was also looking to alleviate the pain of feeling that “I was not enough.” My constant searching provided no real answers. I often felt lost, alone, and confused. I began to doubt I would ever find what I was looking for and suspect I was destined to be unfulfilled and unhappy-forever.
Then along came Executive Success Program, a self-help organization under an umbrella company called NXIVM. It was described to me as a human potential program, and it came along with a community of like-minded people with a mission to change the world. Whamo! Right up, my ally!
Fast forward two years, and I realized that I was being slowly indoctrinated into a high demand organization with a leader teaching misogynistic classes disguised as feminism. I discovered the organizations was enslaving its members emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
By the end of my NXIVM experience, I was actively being recruited into a subgroup called The Vow, later know as DOS. It was pitched to me as a sisterhood of kick-ass women trying to achieve amazing thing by teaching women to be accountable and measurable. In reality, the women of DOS were enrolling women to become their personal slaves, and some were unknowingly being recruited to serve Keith, the founder of NXIVM, himself. All recruits became slaves either directly to Keith or to the person who recruited them who would later become their master. All members damaging provided collateral, which would be released in the event they divulged the existence of DOS. Some women were even branded with Keith’s initials.
To be clear, I did not just wake up one morning and join a cult. No one does. I was searching for something to fill the void in my soul, NXIVM recognized that desperate need, targeted my vulnerabilities and used them against me until I believed that I was the problem and NXIVM was the answer. As simple as this sounds, the truth is far more complicated.
I left the organization as soon as I realized I was in danger. Emotionally, I was a disaster. I was very connected to the community-they had become my closest friends, some were like family. I got myself into therapy, read every book on cults, cults of personalities and narcissistic relationships, until one day I could actually wrap my head around the fact and admit to myself that I had been in a cult, although, I could not actually say it out loud.
This didn’t happen until I met two film makers on a mission to film a documentary that would give voice to stories of the women of NXIVM. I was hesitant when they contacted me. I had just escaped a cult. I had left just short of becoming someones collateralized slave. I was embarrassed and still in shock. Why would I want to share any part of my story with a world that I was sure was going to judge and criticize me.
At the time, I was not fully out from under the effects of the NXIVM indoctrination. , I got phone calls from NXIVM supporters telling me to keep my head down and shut the fuck up as word of my collaborating with the documetary team started spreading in the NXIVM community. Word travels fast. Many people in the community were still afraid to leave and even more afraid to say anything negative about Keith or NXIVM.
I struggled to decide what to do until my husband said that it was not a matter of if I should share my story on the documentary, but why wouldn’t I? After much thought, I decided I would do it. I decided to step up. I decided to be brave. I was scared shitless.
With an all female kick-ass team of documentary filmmakers, led by Cecilia Peck, Inbal Lessner, and Morgan Poferl, I, along with a handful of other brave women, shared our stories. We had access to the top cult deprogrammers and therapists which, for me, made it easier to understand and tell some my own story.
It was emotionally draining and profound and cathartic. At this point, my healing process began for real.
Though I choose to move on, I still miss my friends, some of whom still don’t recognize the danger of being a member of NXIVM. Because of their actions, some of them are going to prison. Others are still hanging around the closed NXIVM headquarters hoping that NXIVM will rise like phoenix from the ashes.
I will always be a seeker-that will never change. However, now I am a seeker who knows that there is no one person or organization that has THE answer or THE authority to influence my life, on any level. I now rely solely on my instinctual guidance system and follow my own compass.
Today, I am a speaker and cult awareness advocate. My mission is to help people develop their instinctual guidance system in order recognize attempts at manipulation, free themselves of limiting beliefs, make the most empowering choices and rediscover their GLORIOUSNESS.
I invite you to witness the stories of some of the bravest women I know who survived their NXIVM experience and lived to tell the tale.
On Sunday, October 18, SEDUCED: Inside the NXIVM CULT begins airing on the Starz network.
Here is a link to the website for the series for anyone interested in learning more: www.seduceddocumentary.com
Everyone has the right to discover their gloriousness.
Rediscover Your Gloriousness
As a life long seeker, I have spent many years traveling to far corners of the globe to work with healers, gurus, and teachers in search of my clarity, my confidence, and my purpose- the GLORIOUS self that my granny saw in me. Often I felt lost, alone, and confused. At one point, I even found myself an unsuspecting member of NXIVM, a high demand organization (e.g., cult).
Kelly is a highly sought after speaker and consultant to families and organizations regarding high demand groups (e.g., cults) and narcissistic personalities. Kelly is dedicated to helping people reclaim their freedom and uncover their glorious selves.
One reply on “SEDUCED: My Life After NXIVM”
Thank you so much for this eloquent blog, Kelly. We’re so honored by your participation in SEDUCED. Your story is so relatable. You are the proof that these sophisticated recruiters and their techniques can get to anyone. Everyone has moments of self doubt and pain. Those become the portals or the moments of vulnerability, through which coercive groups can reach in and grab you. You have so much to offer and to teach others. Please keep speaking up. With much love from Cecilia and our whole team