Sorry for the delay. I've been doing school work the past couple of days and I had to wait until I got a chance to get back to this.
I definitely do not want one or two bright pixels to blind the player. However -- and maybe this just has to do with the values I'm choosing for my lights -- this hasn't really been a problem for me. If I have a spotlight shining toward the player, and the spotlight is far away enough that it takes up a 16x16 area on the screen, it has almost no noticeable effect on the exposure value. It's only when I get close enough to the light that I would expect significant dimming that I actually see it occur.
Your advise about implementing multiple post-processing effects makes sense. Bloom is really important for indicating brightness.