Updated: Feb 2
Over the last 18 years of working with over 70,000 people and having mentored hundreds of people myself during that time, there is an experience that happens about 0.01% of the time but, as is often the case in the world, a tiny minority of people try to cause damage for extremely selfish reasons. This article is to explain the pathology of the people who do this and their real motives.
Things have been written online anonymously on unreputable sites like Reddit by a comparatively tiny number of ex-Associate Elects and clients seeking to defame Lighthouse International Group which, in most cases, is because those people have demanded refunds they were certainly not due and so have not been given. In their bitterness about this they have then taken to the internet to write stories online which conveniently leave out key details of truth in a very narcissistic way. Their motive is simply to defame, to break down and cause as much damage as possible in retribution.
I will say right at the start that I know for a fact that every single person who has done this has been offered an opportunity by our Head Mentor Paul Waugh to come to his home, with their families and even solicitors if they feel they need to, in order to work through their challenges together. To date, only a couple of parents have taken up this offer and in both cases they have since invested in themselves to become partners at Lighthouse International Group, rather than walking away. I am not writing this article to troll those trolling me or us, I am writing this for anyone interested in the truth and in the hope that the tiny minority of people writing such things may read or hear about this and see the error of their ways. To look inside themselves and change, as we are always here willing to talk and work things through. We don't go online and write nasty comments to try and break people's life's work down. We don’t have to defend ourselves here, but we will use this opportunity to learn from it and to educate others so they are better prepared.
Mentorship, coaching and counselling, if you ask anyone who has been involved in it in some way, is always a two-way street. The mentor and the mentee, both need to put the work in and both need to extend themselves as there is no quick fix, no silver bullet to helping the mentee to overcome their barriers and restraining forces in life. Unfortunately though, in a very small number of cases I have worked with people where, if things don't work out, they turn and blame the mentor or blame the organisation, or blame anyone else except looking at themselves. This is what M. Scott Peck refers to in his book The Road Less Travelled as someone who is 'Character Disordered'. This essentially means, when a problem arises, the person looks outside of themselves to find fault and blame, but not inside at themselves. There are many different forms of character disorder, some people can be quite passive with it rather than overt, and then others may be very overt and brash with it, but It's the more passive character disorder that is harder to detect as it is kept silently to themselves or shared only in secret with those they feel will sympathise with their complaints.
At Lighthouse everything we do is bespoke and tailored to the individual. We invest thousands upon thousands of hours to work on ourselves as a team and to tailor programs to individuals. It's like having a bespoke tailored suit made for you and it's for this reason that, for the majority of our mentoring services, we take payment upfront because this is where the majority of the work is done. This is also why we try and be as careful as we can to only bring someone onto a program that we know they have a strong chance of seeing through to the end. However, we are not perfect and we do make mistakes in this, but we also always come back to learn from them and make the situation better than if it hadn’t even happened in the first place.
I recently wrote an article called "It's not the critic who counts" about the racist abuse that came my way from the families and acquaintances of these ex-Associate Elects and clients of Lighthouse. One of the people who replied to that article was an ex-partner, Richard Thomas (see below). I actually never met Richard directly, but I was on a Saturday morning team conference call with him for over 18 months and during that time I would hear his feedback about how he felt this work was benefitting him and his two boys to which I thought, and even expressed to him and several others, what a genuine, humble man I thought he was. Sadly he later became ill through an ongoing health condition and what's subsequently come out is that his wife was very obviously against his growth and development and the perceived source of that, namely Lighthouse. His wife continually resented the time he was spending with us as an Associate Elect and he subsequently chose to leave us after 2 years, demanding back the money he had invested in himself through Lighthouse International Group. Sadly, I see this a lot in working with people, that the biggest opposition to our growth and development so often comes from those closest to us.
Mr Thomas said (and we have this in writing) that if we gave him a refund he would go online and write nice things about us. However, we will not be held to ransom like that and so, as expected, he has subsequently gone onto platforms, like Linkedin, publicly asking "seemingly" innocent questions, but which are actually intended to undermine and to break down the reputation of the organisation in retribution. What he is asking for, however, is effectively like leaving a university course in the last year of the course and expecting all of his money back. It really doesn't work like that, just like you can't go out and eat two-thirds of a meal at a restaurant and then expect a refund for even the portion you didn't end up eating, let alone the whole meal itself! But of course, this really doesn't suit Mr Thomas and hence he has taken it upon himself to wage a personal defamation campaign against Lighthouse through his unlawful trolling, which in his mind is completely justified.
This is exactly the pathology of a character disordered person, they only see what they want to see and they take no personal responsibility or blame on themselves. It's as though there's a kind of reality distortion field that we all have where we only take in the information we want to take in and see things the way that we want them to be, more than they actually are. A much healthier human being is someone who is able to look at their own perceptions, however, challenge them and see their own fault and responsibility as well as the other party's. They are balanced, mature and principle centred, i.e. they are guided primarily by objective values and principles, not just their subjective (usually biased and prejudiced) opinions. If Mr Thomas was guided by principles such as responsibility, he would see why he isn't due to a refund and would have approached things much more diplomatically and maturely.
Sadly though, most people don't want to endure the time and effort and humility it takes to do this, they see it as too painful and instead project and blast their anger and frustration at others, simply to get what they want, even if they hurt and drag others down with them. I'm sure there are people reading this thinking of at least one or more people in their lives right now they can see this same pathology applies to. It's a psychological syndrome known as a character disorder, which is, as Dr Scott Peck describes, a form of neuroses and neuroses are self-created delusions of the mind designed to distort reality in order to avoid legitimate pain and suffering. In this case, that pain is the reality that one legitimately can't expect a refund for something they have already used up and benefited hugely from, even complimented those who supplied it multiple times.
Imagine eating a meal at a restaurant and complimenting the chef as to how delicious and well made it was and how you have never eaten anything like it in your life and then, because your partner has fallen out with you and wants to go home, you ask the staff for a full refund because you aren't able to finish, but you promise to write a glowing review on internet review sites praising them if they do. However, when they refuse you a refund you start getting irate, you start shouting and getting angry and demanding a refund, which they only refuse even more, to which you start telling other customers about how terrible the food is and poor the service is and you go home to write as many negative reviews online as you can, ganging together with a handful of other unhappy ex-customers with a mind to smear the restaurant's reputation, even if the vast majority of customers have done nothing but highly praised it. What's more, you completely forget all of your previous positive praise and enjoyment in receiving the restaurant's excellent services and standards in order to focus purely on the fact you weren't having your demands met. This is just the kind of thing that sadly every business in the world faces every day. In fact, if a business didn't have its haters in some way, you would have to be suspicious as to what they were doing and how honest all the other positive opinions were. Lighthouse is no different, but we aim to openly share and speak about these cases in a bid to show more openly the toxic traits of trolling pathology.
This article therefore is not to troll Richard Thomas, far from it, our aim here is to use his example as a case study for the pathology of people who do this and to educate others about why this tiny minority of people have been writing malicious statements online. It is to stand up to trolls, letting them know we won't tolerate their antics and to also work with others who feel the same and want to make such antisocial and irresponsible behaviour a taboo.
To be clear, our refund policy is that we will only give refunds when we haven't delivered on what we said we would as part of the original agreement, or we have made a clear mistake. Our refund policy is available to anyone who wants to request it.
This was Mr Thomas's reply to my article talking about the racist abuse.
This was my reply...
Mr Thomas I know you have made your bed and now need to lie in it, so I don’t expect you to take any of this on board or change your stance however I’m sharing for the benefit for those with a genuine interest in truth and in learning from this.
I am very pleased to hear you don’t condone or advocate racist abuse and if you feel so strongly about it, why don’t you hold those accountable who have done it? The username is in the screenshot above and they frequent the very same threads and posts you do on Reddit which slander me and our work at Lighthouse. You participate in the same discussions, sub-Reddits and topics as these people and their families Mr Thomas, it’s not just using the same platform or being on the same bus. You are sitting next to and associating with racists on said bus. If you don’t hold those responsible accountable and find out who is doing it then you are complicit with them.
Secondly, as has been said to you many times, if you feel you have a genuine case for a refund, go and seek legal advice. If you genuinely have a case then you will. Investing in a bespoke service and benefitting from it not just on a Saturday, but the hundreds of man-hours spent preparing audios for you all comes at a cost of time money and effort Richard. As an experienced business professional, you ought to know that there is no business on earth that would grant a refund after 3-4 years of work and the person leaves because they decide it’s no longer working for them. Do your homework please. This is a link for you...
Thirdly, as you yourself said if we gave you a refund you would go and write positive things about us online. We don’t tolerate any form of blackmail so now, as expected you are writing negative things online, so I can’t take anything you say seriously.
Fourthly, I have been sent this image above from someone in your circle where you have cynically questioned my ability to work with children, my qualifications and my credibility. We both know you aren’t asking this out of concern for children’s welfare, but more to try and cause damage. However, all you are doing is helping us to strengthen our resolve and commitment. If you were genuinely interested you would ask me sincerely and directly to me personally. Beyond that, if you had any awareness at all and were really interested in the truth, you would see from my profile that I spent over a year as a trained Childline children’s counsellor and was fully DBS checked.
The Christian project we have launched is to bring conscientious Christians together to develop their God-given potential and give 800 million children suffering clean water. Are you also going to try and break that down too?
Finally, please don’t give yourself and your fellow trolls on Reddit too much credit. Parents Against Trolling has been launched to help parents and adults deal with online bullying against children. We’re simply using our own experience of trolls to teach others. We just wouldn’t go to all that effort for a few minor disgruntled ex-Associate Elects and clients who didn’t get refunds they weren’t due. We have better things to do with our time and children are committing suicide over trolling. It seems you don’t care about that and just care about your own malicious falsehoods.
Families that are very close to us have lost children to suicide because of trolling!! Are you that thick-skinned, cynically blindsided and selfish that you can’t see why we have started PATT? You just aren’t that important Mr Thomas and if we weren’t using this to teach others then I wouldn’t be replying at all.
This was Mr Thomas's subsequent reply...notice how he ignores 99% of my reply whereas I answered every single point he raised specifically and with evidenced points. This is the typical pathology of someone who is passively character disordered who ignores reality and only focuses on what suits them. You'll notice that he talks about the only real issue he is concerned about, not children, but his refund. In this kind of situation, the danger is getting involved in what's called "circular arguments" which can often happen with people who have a pathology that is mainly self-serving. Whatever you present to them they will always bring it round to what they want. In this case, Mr Thomas's refund. The facts he is stating are also inaccurate. No one has ever been sued at Lighthouse after 18 years. There was one small claims court judgement against one of my fellow partners Kris Deichler which went to his old address and so was imposed because he never got the paperwork. However, presenting these facts to Mr Thomas would make no difference. At Lighthouse we invest a huge amount of time and effort into relationships and many agreements are made over the phone during recorded conversations after a relationship has been built for many years. The records of Mr Thomas's investment in himself are in both his and our bank accounts, on recorded conversations and text messages which by UK Law is proof of purchase.
"There are billions of contracts made each year. Apart from consumer credit agreements, there is no requirement for the sale of goods to be in writing. The vast majority of contracts for sale of goods and services are by word of mouth. Such contracts are just as valid and as legally enforceable as written contracts. Three things are required to strike a sale's contract. Agreement to sell. Agreement to buy. Agreement on price. Once these three things are in place, and the money & goods title change hands, consumers' rights detailed in the Sale of Goods Act come into force; and lack of a receipt will have no affect on these consumer rights, whatever the Seller contends."
In UK Law, verbal agreements are binding:
"Clients will often presume that verbal agreements are not binding. However, as a general rule, the law considers that verbal agreements are legally binding." - Rachel Harrison, Farleys Solicitors
While I believe it is extremely unlikely, I really do hope that Mr Thomas stops pouring this hatred out because it will just cause damage to himself and his career and family by becoming this hateful person. I have seen people make massive changes in their lives, including myself, and I hope that he manages to do so for the sake of his children.
Below is a wonderfully insightful clip from Paul Waugh where he shares around toxic narcissism which is very relevant to this situation.