Saturday, August 23, 2008

Truth + Obituary = Making People Squirm


It's superstitiously considered bad form to speak ill of the dead. I say 'superstitiously' because people act like the dead will have their revenge. Maybe it is just that people think it makes the person who does speak ill of the dead look bad themselves. That is true only if by speaking ill they are lying. But when someone dares to speak the truth of the dead, and that truth reflects poorly on the dead, then it is the dead person's fault not the speaker's fault.

In case you've missed it there has been a bit of a bruhaha over the obituary for Dolores Aguilar. It first appeared in the Vallejo Times-Herald. It was yanked rather quickly by that paper but not before Aguilar's obit was picked up by the SFist.com, an online newspaper from Aguilar's home town, San Francisco. Then the rumors started to fly about how the obit was a hoax. Both SFist and a journalist from DailyBreeze.com did their research and were able to confirm the obit's authenticity.

The woman who wrote the obit was a daughter of Dolores Aguilar, one of eight children, Virginia Brown. She describes how growing up with her mother meant being "unfed, poorly clothed and completely terrorized". She hints at the divisions formed in the family. She admits her mother presented a respectable face to the world, but how: "She was a chameleon. She could make outsiders see her in any way that she wanted while behind closed doors she would beat at least one of us every day..." This is not the behavior of a mentally ill person. This is the behavior of an evil person. It takes awareness and calculation to only pick on your victims out of sight of the observance of those who would hold you accountable. This blog has dealt with this aspect of the malignant narcissist and how they know what they are doing is wrong and therefore are careful to hide what they do.

The daughter of Dolores Aguilar unwittingly describes a malignantly narcissistic mother. So I want to bring to your attention the obit that such an evil mother deserves. Virginia Brown, the brave daughter who flaunted convention, dared to speak the truth. I applaud her for it. I don't believe it makes her look small. She is bravely saying the truth and validating the experiences of all her family members. I think it is hugely significant that:

Brown wrote the piece alone but has yet to hear any disagreement from the family members who have seen it in the three days since it ran in her mother's hometown. Nor has the paper received any. (source)

I really think this is further proof of the rightness of Brown's honesty. She wasn't speaking ill of the dead. She was speaking the truth. That the truth is ugly is no ones fault but the dead Dolores Aguilar.

When I contemplate the further damage to the family of Dolores Aguilar a standard obit would inflict, I am able to recognize what a good and decent person Virginia Brown is. She did what was right by her living family by not buckling to what society believes is right by the dead.

Click here for the link to the obit when it was first picked up by SFist.

SFist ran their update here.

For the DailyBreeze.com article by John Bogert, click here.

Now, in order to help preserve this obituary for future readers of this blog I'm going to copy it below. I don't know how long before the links above go dead so I am trying to insure that the heart of this post is recorded for posterity. This is likely an obit that many of us could write for our own mothers.

An homage to the evil mother:

"Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on Aug. 7, 2008. Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.

"Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times, too. But I truly believe at the end of the day all of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.

"There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, goodbye Mom."

Considering the scope of abuse and damage that Dolores inflicted I find this obit remarkably restrained. Another testament to its honesty. It is a study in understatement while refusing to praise an evil woman. I hope that Virginia Brown and her siblings and extended family find the peace they have craved now that the family tyrant is gone. I admire Virginia's courage to speak the truth more than I can ably express. She has validated not just her own family's experience, but mine. God bless you, Virginia Brown and family. Who cares whether or not Dolores is resting in peace. It is her family that deserves rest and peace.

[Icon credit]

26 comments:

Naive No Longer said...

You said,

"She has validated not just her own family's experience, but mine. God bless you, Virginia Brown and family. Who cares whether or not Dolores is resting in peace. It is her family that deserves rest and peace."

I had the same reaction when I read the obit. I thought, good for her! The truth is the truth. It's sort of the same dilemma that one had (before going No Contact) of trying to pick out a Hallmark Mother's Day Card. Gag. They don't make ones for mothers like ours. Maybe you should start a new business, Anna. Hand-crafting the perfect greeting cards for all those special occasions when we can honor our mother with the truth.

There is a sense of wholeness, of cleanness, of rightness that comes with not having to forego your integrity and buckle to social convention - whether it be by buying a card or writing an obituary that is an utter hoax.

I say again, good for her!

krl said...

The only thing better than this for ME would have been to say nothing. No obituary at all. I would simply have carried NoContact into NoComment. Not even worth my time.

Anonymous said...

Wow that was very powerful. Sadly I could relate to every word. My father, who is 83 has made the lives of my sisters and myself a living hell. I have come to a point where I realize that I will never experience true peace until in death do we part, whether that means me or him kicking the bucket first. It is very hard for me to admit this, but I do believe that it is a strong sign of my healing. Growning up, I loved him and admired him so much. I tried so hard to gain his love and approval and all I received was extreme emotional and physical abuse. He cricized me for breathing the air. The more abuse I sustained, the harder I tried to please him. I must have been affected by the "Stockholm Syndrome" because no matter what I would always defend him. He ruined my childhood and the emotional damage that has resulted has made it damn near impossible to maintain any kind of relationship with a man. The damage these people do to thier families is lifetime. What makes it especially hard to take is that the person who created the damgage leaves this earth in total oblivion, having no clue what they have done to the very people they have created. There is just no justice with these people. I look forward to the day when NPD is as commonly discussed and understood as OCD or ADHD. It certainly would be nice for so many reasons. I personally have felt so different all my life and so misunderstood. I only learned about NPD over the past year when I discovered through the grace of god that my ex boyfriend was one. In reading about the cerebral narcissist, low and behold there was a picture of my father next to the description (lol, kidding). They easily could have put one there because the description was so uncannily like my father that my mouth dropped open. Having that knowledge has solved many mysteries for me with regard to my own personality, and my dating history (all narcissists). Well I guess I will stop rambling. Very interesting post! Thanks for helping to get the word out!

Anonymous said...

You know, I did see this the other day. I think people just don't like things like this "in their face," out in the open like that. They like to buy into the lie that all family relationships are cozy.

Renewed

P.S. Thanks for your kind reply to my comment on the previous post.

Naive No Longer said...

Good point, krl!

Anonymous said...

I saw that obituary the other day and thought it was fantastic! Nothing makes me happier than when brave people defy convention to expose evil.

If fate has it that my evil, malignant N sister conjures-up some syrupy load of crap obit for my evil, maligant N mother, I will see to it that my truth gets printed.

Bring on the lies Sis - it's what you do best!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

Kelly said...

Wow.That is powerful. I can totally relate. God Bless Virginia Brown and her family.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I bet if this type of truth telling were more socially acceptable, at least some N's would give some second thoughts to their behavior. Not that they would suddenly care about the victims, but since they care about their wonderful images so much.

What a smackdown though - and perfect - the one time that the N can't pull a counter move to discredit the truth of someone else's experience at their hands.

Let's hope some N's out there shivered a bit when they read it!

Anna Valerious said...

You've articulated one of the thoughts I've had on this myself. I have seen in some of the comment threads off the news articles on this obit where people are dissing Virginia Brown for taking a swipe at a dead person...a person who in no way is affected by the obit; mocking Virginia for trying to punch out a corpse. But I see it very differently than those types of commenters. Like you, I see this obit as a possible nightmare scenario that could now haunt vicious Ns everywhere. I'm all for truth-telling that causes Ns to freak out. I want them to be forced to contemplate their own obits when anything anyone says is far beyond the N's control.

I'm sure that Virginia Brown didn't pretend to herself that she was actually hurting her mother by composing this obit. I believe Virginia did what she did for her own and her family's need for someone to say the truth out loud and not paper over a life lived badly with some insipid paean of praise.

Anonymous said...

I applaud Virginia's bravery. I have a very disturbed, abusive sibling that my mother tried to protect by pretending everything was alright. My sibling should have been in therapy years ago, and now it's too late. My mother passed away and my sibling no longer has her "protector" and whipping post. I chose to no longer have contact, and when people ask me how in the world I can do that, perhaps I should print out Ms. Brown's obit- it speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

I believe my mother has already written her own obit and orchestrated her own funeral!!! go figure!! How's that for control?

Anonymous said...

Another thought about the custom of idealizing the dead:

I have personally known several people who during the lifetime of their Nparent were very clear and vocal about that parent being abusive and cruel to them. They were not in denial and not all about making excuses for the Nparent, like so many victims/targets can be. You'd actually think they would be capable of writing an obit like this. However, after the death of the Nparent, they actually did a 360 and went into fantasy mode and began to idealize the relationship. I know, HUH??? Now that the Nparent wasn't around to continue offering proof of being a jerk, they were free to pretend it never really happened that way and to exaggerate the good times or any good qualities. I have seen this happen two times, in people who had no problem calling the parent out before, for years. Needless to say, I have also observed their mental health take a nose dive as a result.

Anonymous said...

I love that. You know when I was a kid I thought about death sometimes and it hit me if my mother died I would not be able to cry for her. Gee I was scared at the thought of her dieing because I understood that if I didn't cry people would think that I was bad or that something was terribly wrong with me.

I do have a question I realized it wasn't my fault and my mom was a complete jerk a long time ago. Why did it take so long for so many people to realize it?

Didn't have a name for it until recently though. I was so frustrated with my mom one day I looked up overcontrolling parents and narcissist showed up several times and I thought what does that have to do with it? Curiosity over ruled I hit the link and found the open treasure chest full of gems of fascinating information that fit perfectly.

I am a teenager......

Why does it take some people until they are in their 30s, 40s,50s?

Could it be personality?

Could it be that many of my character traits are unnatural and have been painted over the original me?

I am wondering because I never always tried to please the n in fact I often tried to displease her. Why did I know that she was wrong sooner?

I can be the silent one, or the talkative one switching between all these different characters depending on the person I am with.
I can be terribly shy or strait outgoing. The lone wolf, a person with friends and so on. I sometimes wonder who am I really?

Garfield

Anna Valerious said...

Garfield,

I think personality has very much to do with how soon a person can figure out where the problem is. Some of us have more compliant personalities than others. Being male can help enormously. (I don't know your sex.) The daughter/mother relationship is very difficult for a child to see objectively. Males are not bonded with their mothers in the same way females are. But, yeah, I do think personality has much to do with how one reacts to the craziness of the N. Some internalize their false messages...others are not as susceptible to internalizing the N's crap.

As a teen it is a little bit soon to have yourself all figured out. Our brains aren't even finished maturing until around age 25. So cut yourself some slack and realize that at your age you can be all over the map because you are still making synapses and learning about the world around you in addition to trying to figure out how you fit in that world.

Anonymous said...

Garfield brings up a very important point to me - and that is the unprecedented power of the internet to spread information about a disorder that preys on the isolation of it's vicitms. When I was a teenager, 'looking something up' needed a far bigger base of initial information, time and resources then the searches you can do now using key words in a search engine. And NPD only became an "official disorder" in the 1980's, I believe - so it wouldn't have even been in many self help or reference books that much for a while after that even if someone was lucky enough to be able to identify it and call it by name.

The information available online now gives me a lot of hope. "Revolution" kind of hope. N's operate #1 on a our ignorance that they in fact are disordered to a critical degree, and the feeling that we are in a unique [and shameful] situation. Because of the internet, N's cannot depend on these factors as solidly anymore.

This blog has opened my eyes and has added so much to what I have read in books [thank you!] and really fleshes out the facts in ways that help tremendously. The word tremendously is by the way an understatement: this blog has helped me in ways that go beyond words.

N's in the past could really count on operating without the interference of their target getting outside help or support or basic knowledge. One thing I so relish, personally, is the idea of N's having any inkling of the fact that we are online reading about them, trading notes and telling each other about what destructive frauds they are.

So, what IS in a heart? said...

"Why does it take some people until they are in their 30s, 40s,50s?

Could it be personality?"

I don't really think it's the only thing. I think the ones that speak out the most are older because when they were younger, they simply didn't have the information that they do now. Once they found out what was going on, it was much easier for them to decide what to do. They speak out for many reasons, and thanks to the internet, many others are learning how to "slip" away from abusers, so to speak.

For some people, it takes years to realize that they're trapped in a fallacy(if they do enough, say enough, the 'good' side will prevail), so time could also be a factor.

Plus, I think when one gets older, they experience more, see more, do more, and realize that their family just plain sucks. Heh.

When it comes to personality, sometimes I imagine some of abused thinking "if only I were this or that or whatever,etc, then I wouldn't have been targeted, etc", but it ultimately doesn't matter. If you've been "selected", abusers FIND a reason. If you're not "compliant", then you are horrible, etc. If you are, then you're "weak". Damned no matter what, as always.

"Why did I know that she was wrong sooner?"

IMHO, you tried to DISPLEASE her, and from that, you see her for what she was, and that there's no way you could "please" her for long. I'm sure it's unpleasant, but it's VERY revealing and from that, it's easier to "get away" without much doubt.

Anonymous said...

Good answers. Yeah before internet information must have been pretty difficult to get at. Sometimes I forget how recent all this technology is. It seems as though it has always been here. Getting older also has to do with seeing the other side of the fence. I am starting to get to that point. Kind of weird being smack between adulthood and childhood because I can relate very well to one side and can only start to understand the other.

This is pretty cool. Much more interesting than the superficial conversations I have with people face to face.

Have any of you thought about running away? Well Anna obviously did lol.

Well Anna I am female. Actually I don't believe that there is really any difference between male and female besides what is taught to us since we were young. Also I am a tomboy and as such I do not fit most of the female stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

To the third commenter (Anonymous):

I can tell you from experience that death of an N parent doesn't always bring inner peace. My own N father died recently and could have merited an obituary very similar to Dolores Aguilar's. It was only upon his death that I fully realized what I never had and what I'll never have-- a loving, involved, non-violent, selfless father. I'd been stuffing down that realization for years, and once let out, it was traumatic to say the least. This blog has helped me realize there are others out there with the same experience, and I thank the blog owner for that.

Karolyn said...

Dear Anna,

I am so happy to have you back! I look forward every day to your well reasoned and insightful posts about narcissism. I have an Nm and even though I am almost 50 and have a good career and marriage, she still manages to torment me as much as she can. I just found out (on the internet no less, they don't have the decency to tell me in person) recently that she and my dad are leaving everything (which is very substantial) to GC brother, who hardly needs it as he makes five times what I do. I realize that I'm not entitled to anything as a matter of law, but I suppose that it just sort of hurts as I have never been in trouble with the law, etc., the normal things that people do to get disinherited. Anyway, GC bro & I don't speak b/c I have felt that he's been taking snippets of info he gleans from me and then amplifying & embellishing them to present me to my parents in the worst possible light. So at this time I am NC with all of them, and really, so be it. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the rest of us who also suffer from being born to an Nm, you have no idea how much you are appreciated. Karolyn

Anonymous said...

Anna, didya know that you are linked now from the Luke 17:3 Ministries website? I thought you would like to know. I love their info; their fonts and colors, not so much, but that's not a big deal.

Renewed

Anna Valerious said...

Renewed,

Yes, I was aware that Luke 17:3 Ministries has a link to my site. The dear lady who created that site graciously asked permission to post that link back in May I think. I love her site and am grateful she thinks my blog may be helpful to those who come to her pages.

Angela said...

I found out this weekend that my grandmother has bladder cancer. She is the mother of 5 adult children. My mother is the oldest of the 5 children. I called her to find out how she was feeling about her mother having bladder cancer and she said, "Ah, we've all decided it is time." None of the children have much sadness about it. It made me think of the article from Virginia Brown. It's sad to think that someone has lived a life that leaves no one sorry as they die and after they die. I pray that I have left a mark on life that people will be sorry to see me go when it is my time.

Garfield--
Yes, the internet is still young and new, so information is so much easier to get now. I also agree that info about NPD is new and HARD to understand and explain. When I try to explain about my N-father and N-ex-husband, people just look at me. They try to understand, but I think those kind of people are so intigrated into our society, that people still don't even realize what NPD is. I only learned last year and it opened my eyes tremendously, yet trying to explain it to others is hard.
I've been around my N-ex more lately b\c of our daughter and it's just amazing how he can twist things around and I feel so crazy so quickly. I have to react slowly and cautiously, so I can remain calm and not buy into his manipulations. He is sneaky. Whatever he says, you can bet that even though it sounds like a nice positive thing, it's a twist into my heart in some way. But see , if I say stuff like that, people just think I'm another scorned-getting-divorced-woman-who is bitter and resentful. They don't understand the years of mental abuse that I put up with for way too long! Partly b\c he's so good at only doing it around me. To everyone else he looks like a christian, caring, do-anything-for-anyone person. I used to tell him, "I wish you would treat me like you treat people at church." He would do anything for anybody else, but would not lift a finger for me.
Same as my N-father. I would ask him to help me do something. He would say, "I'll show you where the tools are." Then laugh at me when I couldn't do it right.
So there are many reasons you are able to learn this info now and it's a good thing you have. Before you marry men that are the same way, before you have children with them. Just b\c you discovered NPD doesn't mean you don't have scars from NPD. Good luck!

Jaylynne51 said...

I copied this obituary for myself. I then changed the name to my nmother's and made a few other minor necessary changes. It reads wonderfully. I truly expect my nmother to outlive me- but I am going to print this and show it to my daughter in the hopes that maybe she will pass it on when the time comes.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Virginia Brown you are a brave one. I wonder if family members tried to have it removed. Other N's in the family protect major N's. Sick very sick, it's like they are in the same mental sess pool together.

In reqards to myself I only found out about NPD several weeks ago....all the peices fell into place. I thought I was the only one in the world that had to suffer parents like I did. I knew there was something wrong with them even though they tried to paint me as the one that was mental. Due to being in the normal mix of society I knew they were the ones that where wrong. What I had a problem with was why they acted the way they did, why did they dump on me all the time and praise strangers. I never did anything right for them, and Lord help me if I brought trouble home to them, in which I never did and ironically both of them did get in trouble with the law due to their N personality...all with the neighbors. The neighbors told me horror stories that were shocking. It is trully awful to have N parents.

Garfield...nope not personality...NPD is not discussed or widespread enough for us to know about it...seems most of us just stumble across it.

Alyx

KillerAngel47 said...

Hmmm....This is exactly how I feel about my so called 'sister'. She is an immature, evil and spoiled child of a 'woman' who made my life a living hell since the day I had the misfortune of been born into this Earth. If she's dumb enough to get herself killed, I won't shed a single tear for her. I bet she will get herself killed sooner rather than later coz all that texting on the phone while driving will most likely catch up to her one day. I just hope it won't happen while I'm in the car (Yep, she does EVERY SINGLE TIME I'M IN THE CAR!). (It's so dangerous that it's not at all surprising that using a phone at all, expecting for hands-free sets, while driving is illegal in Aus). Isn't a tragedy that she is ssssoooo evil that not even her only sister will mourn her passing? Well, the only thing I will/do mourn, is that I was not given a normal healthy family and a normal loving sister. Instead I got that evil piece of sh** who had my parents wrapped around her little finger since she was a small child. She is so evil and was/is so cruel to me that my give a damn was busted a LONG time ago. From the age of nine or ten (no, I’m not kidding!) she would side up with my father and she will join him in lecturing me as if she knows everything (she is only 3 ½ years older than me too!). He would let her, of course. Isn’t that sick?! How dare he let a small child do that?!?! She still does that to me today. She treats me like I’m in pre-school and I’m turning 24 in a few months. It’s FRIGHTENING!! No wonder I’m VERY immature and under-developed for my age. Can you possibly imagine being babied like that for your whole life? It’s no wonder that I have been so damaged by it. I know she enjoys what she does to me. I seen the smug/evil looks she gives me when she thinks I'm not looking. She tried her best to steal my childhood from me and now she is trying her hardest to steal my adulthood from me as well. I'm also sure that there are other people who know what she is too, even though she makes it her business to appear as sweet and nice as possible. Most recently her ex-boss caught on to her. I haven't had the opportunity to ask her why she fired my sister yet, but it's highly likely that she has been spreading 'dirt' on me to the customers and other staff (she has always done it to her friends and she has always let them join in with the abuse). I have known my sister’s ex-boss long enough (who has been a long time friend of the family) that I know she will not be fooled by that one. Of course, she is trying her hard to make it look like it was her ex-boss’s fault that she got fired! Isn’t that ridiculous? She hasn’t tried to tell me what ‘happened’, maybe because she knows I’m smart enough not to be fooled by it, even though she tries her best to make me the ‘retard’. She has never tried to pull the pity play on me either, (even though she has tried it on many other people) for the same reason. My sister will not be missed by the people who know her for what she is. Virginia Brown was right, evil people should not be praised, after death or otherwise. The truth is far more important than that.

PS

I’m sorry for the real long post! ^^; I’m very angry at the evil piece of sh** and needed to vent!