In 2017, I came forward publicly about sexual abuse and financial exploitation by a lead instructor, and then nine other women came forward with similar reports. Speaking with community members and these women, I learned that some NTA employees were previously aware of this instructor’s misconduct years prior, and yet no adequate action was taken to protect women. This instructor was fired after investigation in 2018.
Later, I learned that the administration didn’t reveal a sudden and critical change of leadership, and didn’t disclose a recent investigation into reports of sexual harassment by NTA’s founder. Because it was not shared with the community, other women who may have been impacted did not have the opportunity to participate in this investigation. I wrote an open letter with the intention of making my community aware of these events.
I followed up with the following open letter to NTA’s founder about my disappointment in his leadership:
Thanks for your patience in my delayed response to your Facebook message. I moved last week to Arizona and have been getting settled in. I moved here to start a new business with my friend, creating online courses to help women identify and get out of narcissistic relationships.
On that note, your message is perfectly timed. It’s an invaluable contribution to our research into narcissistic dynamics. It provides a classic case study for our investigation.
First, we have a statement of grandiosity when you said, “If you look at my actions, I’m sure you can see that there are few people who have empowered more women than I have.” Grandiosity — an unrealistic sense of superiority — is a narcissistic symptom.
Second, we have what could be considered projection when you said, of NTA’s previous CEO, “Unfortunately, sometimes women abuse their power also.” This might also be perceived as a diversion tactic to remove responsibility from your actions. Narcissists are skilled at shifting the blame and attention away from them and onto other people.
Lastly, we have the absence of any apology or taking responsibility.
You might be unaware of what an apology or self-responsibility looks like, so let me clarify.
An apology might look like: “Lauren, I’m sorry that my association employed a sex predator for 15 years. I’m sorry my association didn’t have reporting practices in place during that time. I’m sorry other women came forward before you, but still this predator kept his position of power and caused you sexual trauma and financial loss.”
Taking responsibility might look like: “I take responsibility for my actions towards women in the NTA community which, when brought to light last year, warranted an investigation into my actions. I am committed to making amends for my past behavior and behaving better in the future.”
You stated that you’re open to talking to me about “the truth about what happened last year.” I’m not interested in communicating with you further, especially after this letter in which you make no statements of apology or self-responsibility.
Your actions speak louder than your words, and I’m listening to your actions.
At the end of your note, you state, “ I am very proud of you and the work you’ve done in support of NTA […].” I don’t think you’re proud of me, Gray. I think you’re afraid of me, for three reasons:
1. I don’t want — much less need — your approval
2. I am not interested in further association or collaboration with NTA
3. I am not afraid of the truth — speaking it, writing it, and living it.
If you wish to contact me again, do so through my lawyer [name and contact info provided].
You mentioned that your wife Joy appreciated a blog post I wrote. I hope she continues to read my blog, so she will know when my online courses for recovery from narcissistic relationships are available.
They may be of great use to her.
Astronomer Carl Sagan said, “What can be destroyed by the truth deserves to be destroyed by the truth.” In my life, truth has dissolved relationships and a business… and I’m grateful for it, because that opened the doors for healing and a stronger foundation.
Truth is the only thing that’s going to heal NTA as a community and a business, and allow this company to do even more healing in the world. I believe the company is capable of that, and capable of profound change.
But I left NTA because I didn’t see this company share my commitment to truth, and therefore my commitment to healing.
One of the most loving thing you can do in a relationship with a partner, sibling, friend, child, or business connection is to say, “I love you enough to create a boundary for myself, and thereby provide a consequence for your inappropriate behavior. I will no longer enable your ambivalence/self-harm/addiction/cheating/lying/etc.”
I used to think self-sacrifice and silence was love. Now I know: the truth is always love.
That’s why I’ve shared the truth about, and within, NTA.