It’s Narcissist Friday!

I just watched one of those police dramas. A young female officer was supposed to go undercover as a prostitute. They brought in a “real” prostitute to make sure the officer looked right. She said something I found interesting and sad. She told the officer, “Turn the light off in your eyes.”

The light in our eyes allows us to see the beauty and wonder of the world around us. The joy and energy of children, the beauty of creation, the pleasure of human relationships, the wonder of God’s love.

One of the consistent marks of abuse is the lack of wonder. The lights are off in the eyes. Years of discouragement, shame, fear, and anxiety take away the wonder of the world around us. Apathy grows as opportunities decrease. With no way out, the next day will be just as bad as the day before. With no hope of change, there is little joy in noticing the good around you. Who cares about the rainbows and flowers when the soul is crushed by despair and cruelty?

I have seen husbands and wives, kids and parents, who have lost their sense of wonder. Wonder sparks the curiosity and awe in us, but who has time for curiosity when daily survival takes all the focus? I have seen the lightless eyes in retail and government workers. (“The TSA does not have a sense of humor, Ma’am.”) You see it in the homeless, the addicted, and the dying.

My heart pants, my strength fails me; As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.
Psalm 38:10

Narcissistic relationships can rob you of your wonder. Constant criticism and shaming, abusive words, unfulfilled promises, twisting and manipulating. At first, you try to please the narcissist. You might keep trying hard for years. And every time the pain comes, the light goes out a little more. Every failure, every criticism, every disagreement—more is lost.

Now that the narcissist is gone, you try to sort out what is missing. One of the things that you may not even have noticed is that you can’t seem to “stop and smell the roses.” You used to do that—and many other things that allowed you to wonder and enjoy life. But life got complicated, you say. The days became so full of anxiety and work that you no longer even saw the roses.

But the wonder isn’t gone. You just shut it off because it interfered with the struggle. You couldn’t afford the distraction of wonder. Let it be turned on again.

The world is filled with mystery and wonder. There are people to meet who will impress you with their energy, hope, and joy. The creativity of some people is amazing. The little ones can enjoy such simple things, and holding them is one of the greatest blessings of life. There is beauty in the sky and the earth beneath your feet. God’s creativity is marvelous!

You are a wonder. You made it through the pain. You are still surviving and growing in spite of the opposition. Your body, your abilities, your reasoning—are all miracles.

The wonder of life is worth fighting for. You are worth fighting for. Find the way to get the light back into your eyes.

The light of the eyes rejoices the heart
Proverbs 15:30


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13 responses to “Wonder

  1. Connie

    Thank you. I am married to a second n, and I believe they marry us because they want that, and then they try to kill the wonder. Do they think they can get it for themselves if they kill it in us? Or do they just resent it so much that they have lost it?
    I have come to believe that pride and sexual sin kills the conscience. I have always said that if I or the children had a ‘sparkle’ in our eyes, he HAD to throw cold water on us. He just. can’t. stand. that sparkle.

  2. The mother had to crush the sparkle… the light… I think she wanted it: “If I can’t have it, no one can.” I couldn’t believe she would deliberately squash happiness, so I did an experiment. Yes, I planned this. I came in happy, and she said something unkind. I allowed it to turn off my enthusiasm. She then said something encouraging. I allowed it to cheer me. She then said something nasty. I never allowed her to see my happiness or sorrow again, not if we were alone. In a group, I could laugh off her nastiness. She really hated that and became more careful about what she said to me in a group. Wish I’d figured it out a lot sooner than my late 40s.

  3. Barbara Carol Pettijohn

    Beautifully written. Amen!

  4. Jeff

    Yes, they are a demented breed. Had the wonder taken out of me when I was 5. At least now, 53 years later it is starting to return. The wonderment of how I survived it all. The wonderment of how it took me so long to see thru the grooming and lies.

    Was attracted to narcs for many years because of my upbringing. Went thru the emotional turmoil while allowing others to dictate my reality thru their distorted and demented self serving mindset. But there is hope. Have been with my wife now for 13 years, another person who was perpetrated on and severely damaged at a very young age. Now we look out for each other. Now we are just trying to be “beautiful” in our own way. Treating others as we want to be treated while keeping the wolves in sheeps clothing at bay.

    Yes, once the scales fall off the eyes and we seek healing in safe places, there is hope.

  5. jasminpsalm91

    Absolutely correct.Your ministry to me is such a blessing.Thank you and may the Lord bless you a hundred fold.Sent from my Samsung Galaxy , an AT&T LTE smartphone

  6. Savedbygrace

    I used to say my ex nh did not “do happy”…although when we were with others where he wanted to look good- or if he was getting his own way -he was a ‘fun person’..( and it was those glimpses of the person I loved that kept me there..) but after 30 plus years I cottoned on to the fact that the abuse was directly correlated to how happy he perceived me to be:(
    Now he abuses his adult children -all the while playing ‘the victim’ -because it is his only way to try and destroy my happiness…narcissism is a very sad and evil character disorder.. posts like this one reminds me not to underestimate that..and it also encourages me to not succumb to the insipid evil but to “take back the joy” Thanks Dave!

  7. 2birdman2

    Thanks Dave!
    You nailed it for me once again… boy I read every one of these articles and I see aspects of my life in every one. I truly believe my ex n. Wife really took the light out of my eyes… it’s a slow process but I’m trying to get the light back… thank you for sharing your heart, your wisdom, and the truth! it encourages me every week:)

  8. Wow, such a word of encouragement. I feel like I am in survival mode quite a lot; and some of it comes from being carer to my husband who has depression and cannot see anything in life outside his own suffering. It is only Jesus and His love that puts the light back in my eyes. He is the light of my world and the hope in my trials.

  9. Yes! This so resonates with me.

  10. Oops, wasn’t finished yet…
    Two people in my life have had that sort of effect on me. If I seemed too excited about something, too happy, too enthused, too filled with joy, too full of wonder, too happy, even too content — they couldn’t stand it, and did everything in their power to dash cold water all over me.
    So I began practicing “stealth joy”. These two people are still part of my life, but I do not waste my “sparkle” on them. One sometimes complains that I’ve “lost my spark”, so I finally told him, “Only around you, because you always hated it so much.”
    I actually feel sorry for them. They are both missing out on some of the best parts of me — but they chose to do so.

  11. I’m finding it again in a new marriage to a man who truly loves and honors Jesus, and other people as a result! Thank you, Father God!

  12. Thank you so much. As I child, I was so curious, creative, and full of wonder. But I also married a narcissist and I am still struggling to get out of the mindset that relationship put me in. I pray and try daily to refocus on gratitude, to doing things that bring me joy. Your post was a beautiful message of hope to me.

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