Updated: Mar 3, 2022
Head Mentor, Paul Waugh, on the findings of Lighthouse International Group’s 18 years of research
Written by Vivienne Juan, Associate Elect Partner
“The biggest challenge that we have found, the biggest damage we have found in people that we have worked with, the biggest damage I found in myself, the biggest damage I have found in everyone we have ever worked with here, is the damage that comes from narcissistic feeding from parents, and families, and siblings”
About four years ago, I started seeing a therapist with my then-husband; couples counselling, if you will. We had finally come to the decision to try and address a trauma we had faced together, several years before. Without going into details, it was a significant trauma comprising long-lasting effects - aftershocks that would ripple into the rest of our relationship, while it lasted, and beyond.
Yet despite a very singular, very specific event that involved the both of us, the first thing asked of us was to attend separate sessions individually. Why? Because while the traumatic episode was one thing, it’s not what happens to you that haunts you, so much as how you react or respond to it. And how do you react to stimuli in fight-or-flight mode? Through your default survival mode that you learned in your childhood.
“So, tell me about your family…”
In the name of love, our families can often be the unwitting perpetrators of the most horrific (yet largely undetected) abuse that we suffer in our lives. For example, in 2020/21, there were almost 25,000 child abuse offences recorded by the police in England and Wales; an increase of almost 3,000 offences since the previous year. And according to the NSPCC, research with 2,275 young people aged 11-17 about their experiences of neglect suggests around 1 in 10 children in the UK have been neglected. This can explain why we have that default survival mode in the first place.
Unfortunately, without the correct upbringing, healthy influences, and a fundamental human education of the conscience (and let’s face it, who can really attest to having received all the above?) we retain the childish coping mechanisms long into adulthood (think comfort eating, slamming doors, silent treatments or blame games), employing them in situations where they not only no longer apply, but are downright detrimental to our health.
This all happens at the hands of our families — our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles (with a nod to our spouses, friends, and colleagues later in life as well). As alluded to above, it is the toxic environment of the narcissistic family that leaves people abused, damaged, and neglected in childhood. Or worse — it continues the trend past the teen age into adulthood.
Transforming Through Trauma
Our mission at Lighthouse International is to help conscientious people to overcome their obstacles to creating optimal value, in order to be able to always have the resources to say yes (where we ought to say yes), both inside and outside our front doors. For the victim of narcissistic feeding, that means a long and arduous journey of facing the challenges and overcoming the obstacles associated with family.
A Lighthouse International Group mentee shares her transformational experience after seeing anonymous defamatory posts about Lighthouse
In this video, Paul Waugh, Head Mentor at Lighthouse International Group, explains to us the implications of toxic narcissism for families, parents, and children, that continue to manifest later, long into their adult lives.
If you want to understand in more detail and depth about narcissism
and toxic narcissism in families, here is a thorough and necessary article from Sally Davis.
For more on handling toxic narcissism, and to get the right support,
please check out our Parents Against Trolls & Trolling campaign.
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