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What is the Greatest Obstacle to Improving your Life?

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.


READ MORE:

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.


Have a question? To send me feedback or share your thoughts,

please do get in touch and drop me an email - I'll be happy to hear from you.

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10 comentarios


jessholder
jessholder
05 feb 2022

Thank you for such a hard hitting and moving article Viv, and for sharing your own personal experience as well. It is really touching that we have to go through this because we just haven’t received the upbringing. What stood out to me most was when you were saying that it’s not so much what happens to us that haunts us, but our reaction or response to it. I can relate so strongly to this through my journey here being mentored, and I’m still learning, it’s an incredibly painful experience seeing how we act out the ways that we have chosen to basically to survive during our childhoods, into adulthood, where they are not needed, appropriate or applicable, needed to…

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Sukh Singh
Sukh Singh
05 feb 2022

Thank you Viv. I know this first hand as Jai has said below. What's horrifying is this is just spreading and must be lit up, must be put an end, it's why I'm part of Parents Against Trolls, to look after children's needs. Children in care homes 'seen as criminals not victims' www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-59563872

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Jai Singh
Jai Singh
05 feb 2022

Thanks Viv it’s so tragic that those closest to us often hurt us the most I’ve had personal experience of this and in mentoring people too it’s often partners family and friends who are jealous of the growth of the person or who lose control of them and start to fight back. We have had criticism from these toxic families this year because of it.

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Vivienne
Vivienne
05 feb 2022
Contestando a

So true Jai, the evidence of that painful damage is littered throughout our lives, not only in family but also in work and business as well, so we must truly see our past for the reality it is, in order to begin to understand the entirety of our potential in our present and to create a brighter future x

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Cheers for sharing Vivienne. I really resonate with the need to overcome the barriers, obstacles and restraining forces in our lives to create value and the importance of mentoring here because I myself wouldn't have recognised many alone or followed through on addressing them to be honest. The biggest restraining force was me!!! but embarrassingly, back then it would have been the last place I would have looked. My parenting skills have definitely improved, as have my relationships with my wife and children, addressing narcissistic traits in ourselves and each other by opening up and holding each other accountable, it's liberating.

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Daniel Schmitz
Daniel Schmitz
03 feb 2022

Thank you Viv for sharing about your couple therapy experience and for showing the importance of working on us individually. I had to learn myself first, that it is my responsibility to take control of my life and to overcome the obstacles I have. Through being mentored I recognised the impact that upbringing and parenting has on the way I see the world and how it creates limitations. Our parents learned it from their parents but its each person’s responsibility to become more response-able in their lives. So, thank you so much for what you shared here. Seeing the amount of neglect in children even in a country like the UK (1 in 10!) is really shocking and needs to…

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