Does Lighthouse International Force People To Leave Families? How To Deal With Controlling Families
Updated: Feb 7
Is your own family judging or trying to control your choices for you?
The Premise For This Article…
The following article is in part motivated as an answer to cynical criticism that Lighthouse International Group, now known as Lighthouse Global, has received from a small group of ex-members, bitter about leaving without refunds (that were not legally due), as well as - sadly - family members, so-called friends and even partners or ex-partners of current Associates of the company claiming that Lighthouse is somehow manipulating and controlling its associates and members and influencing them to become estranged from their family, friends and loved ones. This couldn’t be further from the case and is in fact the opposite that is the case.
As a Senior Associate Partner who has been involved with Lighthouse for over ten years, I can categorically state that associates are encouraged to do quite the contrary. It’s a core value and philosophy of Lighthouse Global that good, healthy and close relationships are built and strengthened as a priority. As the author Stephen R. Covey once wrote, “no success outside of the home, makes up for failure within it”.
That said, however, no one working within Lighthouse Global can take responsibility for the negative and highly cynical or obstructive attitudes of their families, partners, friends and colleagues have unjustly taken towards Lighthouse itself.
So this is my story of my own journey and what I have learned, through first-hand experience, about the very common psychological syndrome of jealous, narcissistic and even toxic pathology present within many families and people close to us that has caused much personal challenge and strife in our work, where it ought to have been a support and benefit.
What applies to obstructive and even toxic family members and partners/ex-partners, etc here at Lighthouse is actually something that has applied throughout human history and will continue to. This article aims to explain from my personal experience, shedding light on this very challenging factor of human life from my own perspective…
For Those Walking a Road Less Travelled...
I’m writing this for those of you out there currently being criticised, nagged, hen-pecked, picked on, mocked, ridiculed, attacked and even persecuted for pursuing something really important to you that others don’t agree with or oppose. In some way shape or form you have a passion or dream or an ideal you want to realise, that, by its very nature, requires you to make different life choices and follow a different path and direction in life compared to the majority of those you currently know or grew up with. It’s because of these choices or even just the prospect of making such choices that you are now suffering negativity at the hands of naysayers, cynics and trolls who, very often, are actually those closest and dearest to us; our parents, our siblings, other family members, wives or husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends, supposed ‘friends’, work colleagues and business partners or associates.
If this is you, it’s very likely that you view the world ‘differently’ to those around you. You have goals that are meaningful and important to you, in line with what you want to build and achieve in life that others you know don’t aspire to themselves. Perhaps you want to start a particular business? Perhaps you want to follow a specific career path others don’t expect of you? Perhaps you expect a lot more from yourself and from life itself and so you have ideas that challenge and confront the status quo that everyone else has bought into? Perhaps your values, virtues and beliefs vary or even differ wildly from others? Whatever it is, the choices you want to make in life are at variance, enough, with the kinds of choices other people have made and are making around you to make them feel… let’s just say, ‘uncomfortable’, at least and highly oppressive or dictatorial at worst.
When I Made My Own Leap of Faith…
This has certainly been my experience. I gave up a well-paid job in property sales 10 years ago to follow my goal of becoming a Mentorship Coach and to learn about entrepreneurship to eventually build my own businesses and be a benefactor to causes I care deeply about. As you can imagine, to take on such a goal has taken a considerable amount of investment from me personally, first of all in terms of getting myself mentored in these areas first and also to go through the steep learning curve that such an undertaking has required. I knew it was going to be hard and challenging (though it was definitely greater than I imagined) and it wasn’t going to happen in a short period of time (it’s definitely taken years longer than I expected), but whatever it took and however long it was going to be I was committed to making it work. I started being mentored before leaving my job with the purpose of being helped to find more direction in life and work on my self-confidence and leadership skills. It ended up making such a profound impact on me that I just knew, deep deep down, that this was my calling and I’d had enough of the ‘rat race’, as I saw it. It was something I just needed to do and I wanted to do it because of how much I had benefited from that process myself, primarily in terms of how much it was teaching me about myself and my hitherto untapped potential I never even knew was there.
Learning What Is Possible…
I was learning about and starting to understand completely new dimensions of myself as a human being that I’d never even heard of, let alone worked on and for the first time in my life I was going about repairing, rebuilding and improving on myself; i.e. who I was as a person, from the ground up, starting with my inner foundation and character and in line with that, working on my competence, my skills and ability as a leader, a mentor, a coach, a counsellor and gradually, an entrepreneur and businessman. I was being taught so much we don’t learn in school, but in my opinion, is so essential for leading a healthy and successful life and building more meaningful relationships that last. It was starting to explain and demystify the reasons behind so many of my self-doubts and the lack of confidence or belief in myself I’d always had.
It was helping me to see why I had always struggled to follow through on things that really mattered to my future in a disciplined way and why I was in no place at all to even lead myself, let alone a company of people when I started out in the process. It was also explaining why I had felt so unable to seize and realise opportunities around me, to assert and back myself when I needed to and most of all, why I felt so increasingly unhappy, empty and dissatisfied with who I was and how life was turning out for me after such big hopes when I was younger. It was revealing and giving clarity to these things while giving me the practical tools and means to start changing and turning all of these things around to what I wanted them to be - to actually design my life and become the person I wanted to be, on purpose, not live out my default patterns. I didn’t want to have to put on an act, as I believe most people do where they project a mask or an image of who they want people to believe they are, without actually being it truly. Now I could genuinely be that person I wanted to be, without pretending or parading like a peacock. Imagine that, I thought! Actually building a depth and substance of character, knowledge and wisdom about life and business as well as the skillset to go with that. Isn’t that how it really ought to be for all of us, I thought? Isn’t this what school was supposed to do for us but had only sufficed to fill our heads with lots of useless knowledge we would never need to refer to again, apart from the odd pub quiz perhaps? It was a whole new world and now life had meaning, it had purpose, it had direction, it was fascinating and fulfilling with every new step and development and I was aiming at really meaningful and quite far off but also believable and attainable horizons. I absolutely loved it and you’d think that those closest to me would have loved it too. If not for them, for me.
Be Careful Who You Tell...
To my family, however, from their perspective, I had given up a stable job for something they didn’t relate to or understand. And while they did support it (superficially) at first, in principle, to them I had gone from a 9-6, Monday - Friday job to working every day of the week, with long hours on things that were very unusual to them and didn’t have any interest in themselves. I had gone from a good salary that afforded a comfortable lifestyle to living on dwindling savings and earning very little. This meant I struggled to afford and pay for the kinds of things I had previously done so with relative ease, things like restaurant meals out, holidays away and even Christmas gifts etc.. I was basically in a student phase of life again. I was focused on absorbing new information and wisdom and learning and developing far more than producing and earning. So I was just covering costs and while it was somewhat embarrassing to not be able to afford things I had always been able to before, I knew there were very good reasons for it. Sacrifices needed to be made and this was all an investment in my future because I knew where I was going and what I wanted to achieve and it wasn’t just a hill I was climbing, it was a mountain. The big mistake for me though was that I, in hindsight very naively shared openly with and expected my parents and younger brother and sister to understand and at least leave me to get on with things, if not fully support me with it. What I began to learn from this point has taught me greatly about both sibling rivalry and toxic controlling parents.
An article from Psychology Today by Jane Mersky Leder describes adult siblings being very common…
"While few adult siblings have severed their ties completely, approximately one-third of them describe their relationship as rivalrous or distant. They don't get along with their sibling or have little in common, spend limited time together, and use words like "competitive," "humiliating," and "hurtful" to depict their childhoods. The speed with which old conflicts reduce these adults to children again prevents them from seeing one another in a new or different light. They push each other's buttons without knowing why or how and recast themselves in childhood roles that never worked in the first place.”
She goes on to explain how the origins of sibling rivalry begin in parenting…
“Parents' relationships with each of their children are very closely involved in sibling rivalry. As Dunn's work reveals, from one year on children are acutely sensitive of how they're being treated in relation to their siblings. When a parent shows more love, gives more attention, or is unable or unwilling to monitor the goings-on between children, it is often the siblings and their connections that suffer.”
Opposition From Unexpected Quarters Is Actually Quite Normal…
What I never expected though was what actually happened and the level of constant cynicism, negative criticism, deprecating mockery and obstinate resistance I ended up facing for having made these choices. I never knew how narcissistic my family actually were and still are (for narcissistic, it’s easier to think of it in the same light as being self-centred and self-obsessed, i.e. caring little for anything or anyone that doesn’t suit, compliment or benefit themselves), how much, over many years, they would prove to be such a burdensome weight and hindrance to my progress and development that it set me back a lot, as it has many others in Lighthouse too with similar resistance from their families, spouses, friends and colleagues. In fact, it’s always struck me how common and consistent the narcissistic resistance from others actually is, to the point where even the kinds of statements family members, partners and so-called friends etc will make and the kinds of questions they will ask follow an almost identical pattern. It was like a script they were all reading off, even though none of them knew of or had met each other.
Opposition from family or a spouse/partner or both can be so consistent that I can quite accurately predict what the people around them are going to start saying to someone new after they join us, if they weren’t already doing so. And I’ve since found that it’s actually very universal for anyone working to set themselves apart from the norm and do something that goes against the grain or challenges the status quo in their family, their partnerships, their friendship circles, or workplace. It’s so common and well-studied that you can go and find this out for yourself by speaking to any reputable psychologist or psychotherapist or psychiatrist, or by searching the blogs of any reputable life or business coach, or reading the stories of any highly successful businessman or woman and from anyone dedicated to pursuits that demand high standards and extraordinary effort, such as the top tier of any sport for example, or succeeding in the arts. There must be hundreds of millions of aspiring entrepreneurs, actors, painters, athletes, writers, you name it, right now who are facing or have faced great opposition, resistance and cynicism from those closest to them.
Writing for Entrepreneur.com, John Brubaker, a nationally renowned performance consultant, speaker and award-winning author writes about hate and how those who strive to succeed will always attract it, even from those closest to them. He writes…
"Criticism is self-hate turned outward. I believe hate is often a sign of weakness, envy and fear. Haters hate on you because you’re doing what they cannot, will not or are too afraid to attempt."
The Growing Divide
For 10 years and even when I really didn’t want to, because of their negativity, I have been constantly encouraged and held accountable to always looking for ways to build better and closer relationships with my own family; my parents, my brother, sister and extended family. And every time I was met with their criticism and cynicism I have been mentored and supported in finding ways to try and get through to them and build bridges where I can, despite the lack of reason, empathy, rationality and openness to seeing things differently that I have experienced from all of them. It’s been amazing to me how stubborn other people can actually be when you are a very open and agreeable person as I am myself and everyone else is here in Lighthouse.
Sadly though, because of such constant and unwavering negativity, I had to distance myself more and more from them, just to preserve my own sanity and to get away from the stifling toxicity that was damaging my mental and emotional health and keeping me from achieving my goals, not helping me towards them. That distancing only served to increase their criticism, sniping, resentment towards me though and the claims Lighthouse was stealing me away or ‘brainwashing’ me against them (which is ridiculous as they do quite the opposite), leading to me leaving more and more gaps between calls and visits. Despite my efforts, they just could NOT see or accept that the reason for me keeping away from them more and more was because of their toxic attitudes and negativity, nothing else, all the while believing they were caring and concerned for me, which made it all the more frustrating really.
My contact continued until I found evidence of them joining others online who are trolling the company and trying to undermine and sabotage everything I and many others have invested so much time, money and effort into building by spreading false malicious rumours about our work and people here (screenshot below taking from Reddit).
When I challenged them firmly on this, rather than accept responsibility for what they had been part of and how that threatened me and my work, things got ugly and turned sour. So sadly, this Christmas, 2021, will be the second Christmas I will volitionally be spending apart from them and even missing my brother’s 40th birthday, purely because of a failure on any count for their part in taking any responsibility and making concessions for their negative, obstructive and toxic attitudes and behaviours they’ve shown (for an example see the below image). If they were to genuinely have supported me this would never have happened and I would have loved nothing more than to be with and see them more, especially my niece and nephew.
That said, my door is and always will be open for them should they wish to knock and work to reconcile but until that happens, sadly, my relationships with them are very distant. My main regret is that I didn't set and hold my boundaries sooner and firmer than I have. I guess I was always hoping that they were going to soften and change their minds. If anything though, I’ve learned that the opposite is true. Their opinions will only become more stubborn and fixed the less they are opposed and challenged.
Head Mentor of Lighthouse Global, Paul S. Waugh, has always encouraged people never to give up on their families, despite the opposition they might receive, to build bridges wherever possible, but also to enforce personal boundaries where necessary.
Choose The Company You Keep Very Wisely…
The American Entrepreneur and Motivational Speaker Jim Rohn is famous for saying, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. What he is basically saying is that if you want to be highly successful or do something extraordinary in your life, you are not going to do it while surrounded with people who aren’t like-minded and like-hearted, who don’t share the same values and virtues, goals and aspirations as you.
If you are surrounded by people who are happy with their average salary and a 9-5 office life, then you are almost certainly never going to become a dynamic global business leader, for example. However, if you surround yourself with dynamic and inspiring people in business, senior managers, CEOs, business consultants and coaches, ambitious and driven people, you are far far more likely to achieve that because they will guide and influence you in the direction of your goals, not the other way around. They won’t be trying to break down your ideas, your motivation and prevent you from doing what you need to do in order to achieve what you want.
Similarly, if you want to be a happy, positive, confident, socially warm and dynamic knowledgeable person, you are almost certain to fail when you surround yourself with depressed, negative, anxious, cynical and bitter loners who care little for reading and learning. Dan Peña, an American billionaire puts it this way, “show me your friends and I will show you your future” and that’s been the hardest lesson and truth I’ve needed to learn - that the people who I expected to be the most understanding and supportive were actually not. If anything they became more and more like enemies of my aspirations and goals the longer time went on because it wasn’t happening according to their expectations and this was because of their narcissism (self-centeredness and lack of empathy, genuine care and compassion), something I understood very superficially before all this.
‘When Are You Going To Get a Proper Job?’ And Other Questions, Comments and Advice...
“When are you going to get a proper job?” is a question I have heard I don’t know how many times over the years, along with others, like, “how long are you going to give this before you give it up?”, and statements such as, “come on, you know this is never going to work, if it was it would have happened already!” or, “you should just take it easy for a while” and a big favourite of mine, “when was the last time you had a holiday?”, like I wasn’t in control of these things or didn’t have a choice. They just didn’t like or couldn’t understand my priorities and my choices and started trying to make them for me.
I’m sure many reading this will resonate with these and more because these are the statements and questions of people who want you to buy into their worldview and their ideas for life and business. They don’t want you to contradict their beliefs or do something that means you aren’t going to be the person they want you to be FOR THEM. It is about them, not you and what matters to you, but who they want and need you to be to suit and please them. It’s narcissism basically. In other words, and what they are really saying is, “you need to be who I want you to be so it fits in with what I want to get from you and when you’re not doing that it’s denying me from getting what I want from you, so I am going to have to change you and sabotage your efforts, if I need to, so you can stay being the person I want you to be”.
In fact, it has always baffled and astounded me how people who’ve never undertaken the kinds of things that I have been working on suddenly felt they were experts in certain areas. The number of times I’ve been given, unsolicited, high levels of advice from people, namely parents and siblings, among others, on how I should be going about building a large scale business, how to manage my investments better and what it takes to do these things without any credibility or knowledge themselves. But then, referring back to the same Entrepreneur.com article I referenced before, John Brubaker said this…
“Haters are people who think they know the route to success, but they never actually get in the plane to fly themselves there.”
It has been amazing to see and so revealing of people’s narcissistic pathology - the conceit and arrogance in the name of support, because, when they are confronted with their lack of credibility or base of knowledge, they just can’t see or admit their ignorance they just dismiss it. It reminds me of a friend and colleague recently who got asked by one of his parents enquiring about an investment he was making, whether he was going to speak to a financial advisor as opposed to his very wealthy business mentor who was advising him. He simply said, “are they a multi-millionaire? Because the person who is advising me is! So I’m going to be taking his advice, not yours and certainly not the financial advisors.” There was nothing back after that as what they were really trying to do was undermine and criticise the advice he was getting and to appear as though they knew better. They were narcissistically jealous of their son being so closely advised by someone other than themselves or of their own suggestion they could take credit for.