#43 – Cult Curriculum Mindf*ckery & How To Break Free w/ NXIVM Whistleblowers, Sarah Edmondson & Anthony ‘Nippy’ Ames

You may recognize Sarah Edmondson and Anthony ‘Nippy’ Ames from the critically-acclaimed HBO docu-series, The Vow. Sarah & Nippy left a self-development organization known as NXIVM in 2017, and they were immediately thrust into the spotlight, working alongside a handful of other whistleblowers to bring NXIVM’s leader, Keith Raniere, to justice.

In this episode, Sarah and Nippy speak candidly about the NXIVM curriculum, where it came from (really), what they thought it was, and how it was eventually weaponized against them. Nippy shares his take on NXIVM’s ‘exploration of meaning’ exercise, and Sarah shares how – despite the early benefits of EMing – the technique was eventually used to coerce her into getting a ‘sisterhood’ brand on her body.

Candice shares how much she can relate to the mindfuckery of always “being at-cause” and how she’s still unraveling it after 16 years. Nippy elaborates, speaking to how this no-victim mentality feeds shame – which is then leveraged to keep people from leaving or speaking out. Sarah breaks down NXIVM’s Stripe Path – which is uncannily similar to ‘the Org’ hierarchy – and then shares about a moment when Keith Raniere revealed the truth aloud to her – referring to it as something meant to offer “the illusion of hope.” Nippy gets uber-honest about the anger he felt when he learned his wife had been branded, and Sarah shares openly about her lingering PTSD and how it’s impacted her most intimate relationships.

The episode wraps with a disarming response to folks who only want to ‘focus on the good.’ Listen in for a crash course in self-development-cult survivorship.

[CW:  This episode contains brief reference to physical and sexual coercion.]

Sarah Edmondson (@sarahedmondson) and Anthony “Nippy” Ames (@anthonyames11) are NXIVM survivors who co-host the A Little Bit Culty podcast where they talk about things that are… a little bit culty. Or in their case: a whole bunch of culty. As whistleblowers documented in the critically-acclaimed HBO series “The Vow,” Sarah and Nippy have a lot to say about their experience, and burning questions to ask people with similar stories. They’re here to help people understand, heal from, and avoid abusive situations one little red flag at a time. Listen in as they share their stories, have frank and unscripted conversations with other survivors and cult experts, and do a deep dive on how devotion can turn to dysfunction. Learn more at alittlebitculty.com.

Referenced In This Episode:

The stories and opinions shared in this episode are based on personal experience and are not intended to malign any individual, group, or organization.

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