Seeing What We Want to See


The first time I saw the above picture was shortly after I met JC, at first I thought he had posed for the picture he looked so much like the man in God’s arms, right down to the purple t-shirt. It still gives me chills to look at it.

JC’s father had bought the picture and put it in the bible along with a letter to JC. I have written about the bible a couple of time, one post was titled “The Bible” and the other one was “Out of Africa”.

I had the picture saved on my laptop and came across it the other day when I was going through my photos organizing and deleting. I can’t tell you how many times i have looked at this picture and never noticed the significance of it.

All I ever saw was JC in God’s arms. JC was a workaholic (or so he liked to pretend) and I saw the man in the picture as a man who was a hard worker, probably worked on Sundays and God was holding him up. JC’s father was always telling him that he should be taking Sundays off and that he kept himself so busy he couldn’t hear God talking to him if he was never still and quiet.

It wasn’t until I looked at it this week that I noticed something I had never noticed before; what the man has in his hands, a spike and a hammer; it sent a chill down my back and stopped me dead in my tracks.

JC always talked about God and religion and how he wasn’t living like he knew he should be and the way God wanted him to live.

I think JC’s father knew the truth about JC, often when he called he would want to talk to me first, before he talked to JC, I think he was trying to get a “feeling” about how he was treating me. JC’s mom was and is blind to the truth about JC. But then so was I for a long time.

The picture was almost like a premonition; considering what JC did when he went to Africa in the name of Christianity and volunteered for a well-known charitable organization. (Out of Africa) Because of JC’s actions the charity had to do a lot of damage control. He came very close to ruining their reputation and all the good work they had done, let alone that he stole from them somehow feeling justified in every thing he did. I didn’t hear the truth about what he did while he was there, the truth came out bit by bit over the course of years but I knew in my gut he wasn’t giving me all the facts, once again his intentions were misinterpreted and he was falsely accused, and for safe measure he had contracted malaria while he was there.  Which he got a lot of leverage out of for several years and after I dumped him he used it to get me back by lying and saying he had been given 6 months to live. Who lies about dying?? Most people would be afraid of bad karma but not a narcissist.

It’s bizarre how we only see what we want to see when we are involved with the narcissist. For years I saw a man who knew right from wrong and wanted to do the right thing but was easily manipulated by others, a man who just wanted to be loved, a man who didn’t believe in himself and a man who believed in God but had turned away from the church. I thought I could “teach” him right from wrong, that if I loved and encouraged him he would see how sepcial he was and not resort lying and using the easy way out. I refused to see the real person he was for so many years and I totally missed it in the picture also, but now that I am healed and thinking clearly I can view the picture without my rose-colored glasses.

I was talking to someone a few days ago about JC and they stated that they would have not put up with his shit that long and that a person can only be falsely accused so how and then there has to be truth to the accusations and that the victim can only blame the abuser for so long before they have to take responsibility for staying with the narcissist. I still struggle with that aspect of my relationship with JC; why I stayed with him as long as I did, why I kept giving him chance after chance and defended him time after time. He kept upping the anti, my truck would break down and he would fix it, he would injure himself and I would take care of him, his place burned down and I let him stay with me, he got malaria and I nursed him, he phoned and said he had been given 6 months to live I felt bad for him. Every single time I felt in my gut he was lying but I ignored my gut and did what my heart wanted to do. Wishful thinking, and I was “loved” him.  He would make me feel so guilty for thinking he could sabotage my truck, or lie and it is so hard to believe you love someone capable of doing the things he did. Who does those things?? Just people on the news or in movies, no one would love. I can’t help but wonder how many women who have been killed by their lover, or exlover had a gut feeling that they ignored because they just refused to see the truth.

Its been over 2 1/2 years and I am still having revelations concerning him, I can’t believe the lies I told myself or how long I stayed. I look at pictures of him and can’t for the life of me remember why I loved him so much, I was so unhappy for most of our time together and he kept telling me I was wrong, I was dysfunctional, I was too negative, I was too suspicious, too needy, too demanding, too ………………….you name it and he was able to make me doubt myself. Once you are away from their influence long enough you will get to this point also.

Hugs and Love to everyone

May God bless you all




15 thoughts on “Seeing What We Want to See

  1. I read somewhere that they control us by making us feel sorry for them. I know in my case that was true. I hope I’ve learned my lesson, but not become too hard hearted. It’s not my job to fix a grown man.


    1. The pity they seek is the biggest red flag to what they’re really made of. People who need our pity, never ask for it. Those who beg for it, are least deserving of it. 🙂


      1. So true Paula and Ana. The N used to lament all of his tragic traumas to me in very subtle ways. The death of his infant son 40 years ago; his horrible experience in Viet Nam, his awful childhood….on and on. I used to weep for him!

        Come to find out, he may have lied about Viet Nam and there’s plenty of evidence that he had a pretty darn good childhood. Two parents, surfing in the warm ocean all summer as a kid…playing baseball as a child and young adult with his whole family actively supporting him….He is the only boy in a family of 3 sisters. They seemed to adore him…the “little prince”. Probably contributed to his sense of superiority.

        But anyway, he hasn’t had any worse traumas than the rest of us. We all have endured suffering and pain. I just don’t choose to wallow in that and seek pity or attention from it. We hurt, but we move on a bit wiser and as better people because of the pain. Narcissist only use these traumas as a means to an end: SUPPLY. Sick sick sick….


    2. Ana, you are so right, it is not up to us to “fix” them or teach them right from wrong. If they haven’t figured it out by the time they are an adult there is no way we are going to change them.
      I kept thinking if I could explain it in a way he would understand he would have an epiphany and change. It didn’t happen. And it never would have.


  2. My ex hadn’t graduated to such a fantastic mask as JC’s, hiding behind biblical righteousness. My ex followed no established religion or belief system (probably because I didn’t). But the pity and neediness was always there, in everything he did and said. It’s part of the manipulation and brainwashing. They convince us they are righteous by pointing out all of our faults. We get so hung up on what’s wrong with ourselves, we fail to realize that someone who really loved us wouldn’t continuously demean us. Our flaws clouded us from seeing their true nature. We were actually VERY selfish in the relationship, worried about ourselves and how to change in order to meet their needs. So bloody chaotic and dramatic! So glad to be thinking clearly, huh? XOXO


  3. A very compelling story Carrie…and that picture. Wow. That man you saw in the picture who reminded you of JC….he’s the “executioner” and there is Jesus holding him up. Yes, that would have stopped me in my tracks too. Seeing the weapons of execution in his hands….wow. And that you just now are “seeing” those details. It is amazing that we can overlook something that is right in front of our eyes. You made some excellent points here. And what a gift for you to have your progress validated so graphically! Thanks for taking the time to post this. XXOO


    1. Paula, it amazes me now, with a clear mind and heart that I stayed 10 years. He either made himself my rescuer or me his; I used to think God had a hand in it but now I l know it was JC’s hand.
      I wonder now exactly how much JC’ s father knew, I know that JC was a handful from day one and he was the only one who could make JC do anything.
      I have read that they usually have one authority figure who they respect like a parent and when that person dies they spin totally out of control.
      It certainly was that way with JC.


    2. Connie, thank you, I can’t believe I missed the sybolism all these years. One of the ways JC kept me hook was through religion, when he was messing with my truvk every time we split I thought it was God intervening and keeping up together. Ot soynds so niave now to say it and I suppose I was really niave.
      But yes it is a gift to have such graphic validation, but even now it makes me kinda sad. JC used to accuse me of snooping in order to catch him doing something wring but you know? I was snooping trying to prove myself wrong.


      1. Carrie, that’s so right on…wanting to prove yourself wrong. I did things like that too…I wanted to believe the N was NOT the person I feared he was deep in my gut. I tried various things to sort of “snoop” on him too….spending hours looking for connections via his social media posts and ex’s…things like that. Such a waste of time!

        After this final break-up, I actually did a paid online background check on him. I hesitated because it felt wrong somehow… I felt like “wow, this isn’t ME…I don’t do background checks on people!!”. But it was important at the time to know. And I did find things that definitely confirmed he had lied to me on several issues…and even had a couple of run-ins with the law back in the 90’s. There was one reference to him violating a restraining order on his second wife. That was interesting….and a little scary. Then his tax records showed multiple multiple liens due to unpaid taxes over the years. Sometimes upwards of $90,000 of unpaid taxes! And this was when he was married to his current wife. So I figured, she was the one carrying the financial burden of his irresponsible ways. And he would bash her like she was pond scum when we were together. (I did NOT have sexual relations with him…but it was a “sexual” attraction and was heading down that road.) So I realized that his current wife, who I did meet twice and seemed very nice, was his main Supply for money and stability. And I was his new victim for his emotional Supply….and eventually his sexual Supply. But no, I didn’t go there with him thank God!! Of course he accused ME of having no morals and of being a home-wrecker when he would blast me with his texts. Called me all kinds of horrible things, when actually it was HIM who was skillfully trying to seduce me into a sexual relationship. I was so blind!

        So the snooping I totally understand. I wanted to think he had told the truth…but I knew in my gut he was lying. And sometimes lying about things that didn’t even matter! Just lying for no reason. These N’s are frightful.

        Take care Carrie… Hugs to ya


  4. “now that I am healed and thinking clearly I can view the picture without my rose-colored glasses.”

    I hope this day comes for me. It hasn’t yet, even after 30 years! I leave and come back, leave and come back; marry and divorce, and married again. Talk about sick! And it’s me and my codependency that’s doing it; nobody else. Only me.

    You mentioned in your story about “but I ignored my gut and did what my heart wanted to do.” That really struck home. We are raised to “follow our hearts” all the time. And where does it lead us? To our own downfall, it seems.

    So hard to know what to do, but putting it all down in writing makes the picture come clear. The first thing I saw in the picture of the guy in the purple shirt was the hammer and nails. It gave me chills just to see it, and to see Jesus “holding him up” knowing how and where that man had USED those hammer and nails!

    This “forgiveness” thing is also out of hand. I think we got a raw deal being told to “forgive” and “let your heart lead you” down the golden path to our own demise. I was raised to ignore my instincts all the time being raised in such terrible dysfunction; no wonder I still have trouble now. But time is on my side because I’m still alive. I might have 20+ more years and I intend to make them count. For ME this time! I will listen to MY SELF. I COUNT TOO.

    Thanks for your wonderful blog and everyone who comments. Always gives me something to think about, and strength when my own is lacking. God bless!

    “The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”

    Dear God please show us The Way.


    1. Good food for thought Catherine. Yes, we DO count too. I am just now reading the article that Nadine posted earlier today under the “Ending the Relationship With a Narcissist”….it’s just what you are talking about here, and it’s GREAT. Go to that thread and check it out. And thanks for sharing. We can be so brutal to ourselves…then we get a double-whammy from the N. Stay strong, safe, and sane. Best regards…


      1. Thanks, Connie. Am going to try and find the article “Ending the Relationship With a Narcissist” you mention. Today I saw the cycle come “complete” in my own relationship. Things slide slide slide go completely downhill until I’m so angry screaming and threatening and then voila! Everything rights itself and like magic, things get done that have taken up to a year to complete. 8 or 12 months of stress and tension (the silent killer) on my end, and of course beams of happiness on the other end from the person who doesn’t have to do anything or make any changes. But since things “finally” do get done, I can see “why I stay.” Not much of a reason anymore, but it’s hard to walk away when at the last minute the day is always “saved.”

        It’s not worth it to me anymore because the older I get, the less stress I am able to tolerate, mentally, emotionally or physically, and I can see that I have become so sick from keeping it all in just to keep the peace, that I have left and now need to just find a way to be completey financially independent. I earn my own money, but I live in a foreign country so money is sent to me here via my partner, and that’s what I will work on next. How to get bank transfers made on my own, despite the added expense and delays. It can be very expensive to do things this way, but in terms of the expense for my mental and physical health, nothing can be worth the procrastination I have to deal with.

        What is the difference between a Narcissist and a Procrastinator?

        One is evil and one is not? Is there a difference? I really don’t know anymore…

        Regardless, I have to find a way to cut financial ties – which I’ve been working on all year, separately my business out from the control that was taken over, inch by inch until I was practically shoved out completely… and I am succeeding inch by inch. It’s scary to do this, but the changes HAVE TO COME FROM ME. FROM WITHIN ME. Then no one can ever take it away.

        Other people can do whatever they want and “go their merry way” as long as we are taking care of OUR SELVES. Then what other people really doesn’t matter! Not one bit!

        So in the end, it always comes down to me. myself. and I.

        I may not have created my own monster, but I surely fed and watered it.

        Time to take care of just myself and see if I can still bloom!

        Gracias, amigas. Gracias = Grace, in all it’s bounty and glory. Amen.


        1. Catherine….I went to look for that article and can’t find it now….it was under a different thread. I had printed out the article (thanks Nadine!) and here is the direct link (I hope) :

          It deals more with how WE, as the N’s victims, handle the aftermath of the relationship. It talks about the addiction we have/had and how we choose to disengage from that….which is really really HARD! But it’s a good perspective on how we can finally be the ones in control…..not the damn N….nope…no more.

          Gracias to you too…..


  5. Excellent post, Carrie. When I looked at the picture, I felt also what is obvious initially. I did see the hammer in the man’s hand – but didn’t see the spike until you pointed it out.

    Indeed – seeing what we want to see. And only now, clear in your own space, your own energy, was this revealed to you.

    I agree re JC’s father – he’d surely be checking/getting a feel. It’s such a shame you couldn’t openly talk about it, ask his parents “What can I do?”

    You’re so above it now, Carrie. Love that.


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