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‘Chump Son’ Passes Away

againdaveI’m sorry to be the messenger of sad tidings, but one of our kindest, wisest, best people here — “Chump Son,” David Clark Brooks, passed away this afternoon at 4:11 p.m. today.

If you’re new to this blog and didn’t know Dave, he was a wonderful commentator. His father had been a narcissist and his former best friend a cheater, and he shared his wisdom and compassion on nearly every post he could. He was especially adept at explaining narcissistic dynamics from a kid’s point of view, giving comfort to parent chumps here.

On a personal note, Dave was also one of my earlier boosters. Emailing to tell me by God, this anti-narcissist thing was part of a larger movement! And keep up the good work! And this reminded him of a historical footnote, and if I was in the DC area to look him up. I regret I never got that chance.

Hug the people close to you, folks. We just lost one of our best people. Such a sad day.


ETA — Here’s one of Dave’s best posts below. He was writing to Hannah, whose father was an abusive cheater.


David January 27, 2014 at 8:59 pm


Chump Son here.

This is what you wrote:

“As an update, he recently assaulted my mum and stole her phone. So there is now an ongoing court case. Despite this, he still felt it appropriate to twist the knife in my heart further with a “heart-felt” email this weekend. One which left me weak, confused and like I’d taken 10 steps back.”

Let me tell you something, Hannah. This guy is clever. Very clever.

He’s got the two-step down like a Ninja Master. Advance, then retreat. Abuse, then soothe. I don’t know if you remember a movie called “Marathon Man” from way back in the 70s. Good film. Good book, too. In that story, an escaped Nazi doctor tortures an adversary (played by Dustin Hoffman) by drilling into his toothe and then suddenly applying anesthetic.

And you know what’s worse? Poor parents often leave their kids with a real hunger for…guess what?…REAL PARENTS. But those same parents get very jealous of the coach, the teacher, the Uncle who might usurp their screwed up authority.

So, you have grown up with a serious Dad deficit, a Dad deprivation, created by…a bad dad. And, roller coaster fashion, he can feed that. Look, no one, absolutely NO ONE, is “all bad.” There are pictures of Nazis who were loving fathers. But disordered people go back and forth. That’s what makes manipulation work! If your father were consistently bad, you’d see him for what we was and be gone years ago. But he can gear shift on you. Character is consistent! Do NOT marry the boyfriend who blows up at the picnic, broods and ruins everyone’s time. You can really tell if these characters are real or not. Just listen to your gut.

You gotta get therapy and keep a grip on this thing.

You also have to do something else.


You have to bury your father.

You have to mourn his loss.

You did not have a real father. You had a very limited, problematic, character-disordered guy for a parent. Despite that, you turned out well. (Just be careful what kind of relationships you get into. Fine a nice Chump!) But you have to face facts. He is not good for you. And you have to mourn. It is sad. In other blog posts, I have described a kind of final conversation that I had with my own father. (He wasn’t nearly as bad as yours, but bad enough.) I gave up on something: on Dad the World War II hero, on Dad the guy who took me sledding for the first time (I can still remember riding on his back. He was so BIG….) The Dad who taught me history. Yes, there were some good things, but — Damn It! — a boundary had to be drawn, and the fact that I waited so long to draw it made it more painful, not less. So, I drew my boundary, felt better, felt sad, mourned the fact that — while my father had good qualities, some of which I admired (mentioned above), on balance, he was not the man/nor the father he should have been. This is hard. But once you do it, you are better off.

If you draw boundaries, withdraw and detach from these folks, some relationship may be possible later on. The irony of this is that, when it comes to the disordered, the only possibility for a relationship comes when you give up on them, when you are willing to get up and walk away, when you’ve snapped the chain of need that ties you to the anchor of their chaos and despair.

I know that sounds weird, like some Eastern Philosophy. Well, let’s hear it for Eastern Philosophy. I had a friend, a good friend, a guy who was a kind of father figure to me –(I attract these father figures quite naturally; I must give off some kind of scent-need; this has been a blessing)–and he said to me once, “You know, you only truly keep what you give away.” He was referring to giving gifts, to giving things with real meaning, but giving them in a way that you kept the memory forever.

That’s a positive paradox.

But with the disordered, there’s another paradox. You only have a chance with them (and they may reject you) once you have cut the cord. Once they know that if they get out of line, you are going to get up and walk away.

And you have to accept something. It’s going to hurt.

But you’ll be better off for the boundaries, you’ll be a better role model to any children you have, you will be better to and for yourself, for your friends. I can imagine that you and your sister’s friends fret about what this situation does to you both.

Personally, and I don’t know all the details, it sounds like both your parents are in some kind of toxic lock. I’d get distance from both. I agree with CL when she tells sis’ she has every right to set boundaries. Personally, it sounds to me like this father is a real loser, and I’d stay away from him. He’s like a mad dentist with a drill in one hand and Novocaine in the other.

So, face facts, mourn and move on. There good folks out there who deserve the good feelings that you and your sister are ready to give. You sound like great kids who came out of a tough situation. That equals triumph. Take that, make new friends and take your lives to the next level. Mom can come with you, if she wants to. I have my doubts she’ll join you. And dad…. Sorry. It’s sad, but the dad you deserved, he never was.

Chump Son knows how you feel.

Please let me (more or less) repeat myself:

“You ARE great kids who came out of a tough situation. That equals triumph. Take that, make new friends and take your lives to the next level. ”

Yes, you CAN!


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  • I’m sorry to hear this, this is very sad. 🙁 I haven’t been here that long, I never got to read any of his replies. All this stuff makes me feel ill in my heart, it is so overwhelming. I am really sorry he had to live that and was putting good things out there for us chumps.

  • My deepest condolences to his family, friends and to all of us here that lost a great friend filled with deep insights and wise comments always. He was very supportive here and always a geat contributor. So sorry to hear this news it’s a very big loss and makes me quite sad.

    Glad that his comments live on!

    • I have saved so many of David’s comments over the years in what I call my “Chumps and Friends Archives,” to read and re-read. It is what has kept me sane, kept me going, and gotten me to recovery. David’s profound wisdom and unique insight will certainly live on, as will his guidance and sweet humanity. I am so very very sorry he is gone from this world. I miss him so profoundly right now, and can only cry again thinking of what his family and friends must be going through.

      • I, too, have saved many of David’s comments, in my own personal “healing journal”. They are gems to me.

        • Me too.
          Ahhh, my heart is broken, what a beautiful soul! His warmth and insight were unique, even among all the wise writers here.
          Blessings and love to all his family members, I do believe his energy is going on to join the collective power and love of the universe! Have a wonderful journey, Chump Son, we love you!!!

  • Such a tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. We will all miss him, though none as dearly as they, I am sure.

  • My condolences to his friends and family. His wisdom will be much missed around here….

  • Oh no! I am so saddened to hear this. May David rest in peace eternally. May his memory be a blessing. May his family be comforted with all who mourn.

  • I am so very sad. Prayers and love to his friends and family. David, you will be missed sorely. Be at peace.

  • We have lost an eloquent and compassionate voice. We are all better off for having gotten to know him here. I always looked forward to what he had to say. He is proof that reaching out and helping others with your hard-earned knowledge is a noble thing to do. He didn’t have to spend time writing to console others who were struggling, but he did. Thanks for your time, Chump Son. May you rest in peace.

    • I could not have said it any better than you, Lyn. Such a loss. His memory will live on and continue to inspire all of us on our journeys to more loving futures.

    • This perfectly sums up my own feelings about David’s passing (and, I think, the feelings of most Chumps on this site!). Your own eloquence in David’s honour is spot-on. I will add my thoughts and prayers to everyone’s.

  • Reading through tears, Tracy. David was a treasure. Our loss, Heaven’s gain. Hugs to all, nmc

  • My condolences to his family.

    “My heart has joined the thousand:my friend stopped running today.”

  • Very sad to hear of David’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with David’s family and friends. RIP David.

  • He’s left an awesome legacy of sharing his wisdom. He will be missed and fondly remembered.

  • We’ve been praying for him for a while. I hope the last days and nights the family had with him gave them something.

    I’m so very sorry he was taken so early.

    • I am new here and did not know David by his posts but did remember this one well–the Marathon Man dentist metaphor is undeniably true for me and vitally helpful to have guiding my picking abilities. May he continue to guide the world’s chumps to better places wherever he is. Condolences.

  • David lived in the truth, painful though it might have been. He shared that enlightenment, educated us, and gently consoled. His time here was too short. I grieve for his family and friends who must be at once inconsolable and yet ever grateful for having known this irreplaceable man. Rest in peace, David.

  • God must have needed him. What a shame for everyone who knew him and knew of him.

  • My heart goes out to him and his family. A very wise, articulate and generous man. In his picture, he looks like a genuinely kind and good person. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of why bad things happen to good people.

  • So tragic….so unfair…a good man taken too soon.

    My heart goes out to his loved ones.

  • God rest your soul David. You will truly be missed!!! Prayers for your family on this great loss.

  • This is so very sad. Although we post here anonymously, we all discuss very personal things. His willingness to share and insight into growing up with a narc parent gives me great hope that my daughter will make it through to be a good person, just as he displayed here. I feel as though this community just lost a wonderful person. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

    • I agree. Chump Son’s insights have been invaluable from a kid’s point of view, and I think of his words so often as I try to support my own kids with their grief, their anger, their rejection, their loss. That their dad is limited, disordered, and not the dad that they deserved. David was an amazing, special voice in this forum. This is a very, very sad day. Peace and love, Chump Son. And thank you….

  • Sad news. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.
    Although most of us here never met him in person, I hope his family takes some solace knowing that he shared his wisdom and experiences to help others, and therefore made everyone here feel a bit better.

  • Rest in Peace David. I’m sue he will never be forgotten by those who loved and knew him.

  • I’m so sad to hear this. He was such a thoughtful and insightful person. I often felt very comforted by his posts.

    My prayers and positive thoughts go out to his family.

    Thanks, David. Rest in peace.

  • My condolences to David and his family and friends. I’m new here, and never had the chance to read his posts till now. Thank you for reposting, His wisdom and empathy will live on.

  • I’m really sorry to hear this sad news. Best wishes to David’s family — I will be holding them in my thoughts. He was a kind, thoughtful soul.

  • The finest man I know, my best friend, David C Brooks, tragically passed today. David is the beloved husband of Nancy Rios Brooks and wonderful father to Elisabeth and Jack Rios-Brooks.

    Dave Brooks. Intelligent. Bright. Witty. Loved by all. The world is a much sadder place with out you.

    Not – How did he die? But – How did he live?
    Not – What did he gain? But – What did he give?

    These are the things that measure the worth
    Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

    Not – What was his station? But – had he a heart?
    And – How did he play his God-given part?

    Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer?
    To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?

    Not – What was his church? Not – What was his creed?
    But – Had he befriended those really in need?

    Not – What did the sketch in the newspaper say?
    But – How many were sorry when he passed away?

    These are the things that measure the worth
    Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

    • Skatergirl, I am so sorry for the loss of your best friend. He will be sadly missed. He will continue to inspire us all. Take care.

      • The post that CL posted for us to read in his honor and memory could save a lot of lives. Had I read that at 15 or 18 or 25 my life might have been different. I will read it again when I forget about setting those boundaries and pass it on to those I meet who need to read it. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your wonderful friend, but know that even in this small forum, his life and wisdom and knowledge made a difference. I feel certain that there are many more lives that he touched, that the next weeks and months will reveal many people whose lives he touched and helped in ways that even he might not have known. I know what it is to lose a friend like that. Years later I am still learning about what he did for others, unknown to even his closest friends. You will never be the same but the grieving will take you deeper in your journey, not unlike the path of recovery from the losses we talk about here. Blessings to you and his family. “And my flights of angels sing him to his rest.”

    • Skatergirl – I am so sorry for your loss, and for the loss of our Chump Nation. Big hugs to you, your family and David’s family.

  • I am so sorry to hear this news. I had been checking in daily to see if there had been any more positive news. My sympathies to David’s family and friends. Like everyone else, I appreciated his wisdom. He will surely be missed.

  • GOD rest ye, David.,Wrapped in the Angels’ wings.
    Helped Soo Many..and back with THE Heavenly FATHER he DESERVES.
    My Condolences to All who Miss him.

  • The true measure of a man is found
    In his faith and his heart.
    It’s found in the friends who stand by him
    The strength he displayed under pressure
    The sensitivity he unashamedly expresses
    And his willingness to reveal vulnerability
    Even at the risk of being hurt.

    And it’s found in the truth of his words,
    The genuineness of his life
    His unselfish actions
    And the values he lives by.
    Determine the measure of a man
    By how much you trust him
    And believe in him
    And by how much his life enhances yours.

    David Clark Brooks enhances all our lives. He touched people world wide. My heart is broken.

    Thank you for your support. Once his family has arrangements for memorial comments, I will post that information.

    • Skatergirl, Love to you……Hugs to you for keeping us posted

      Reading this through my tears…….
      Tears, not for me, but for those now bereaved of this precious soul.
      Tears for a life cut too short.

      The poems you wrote here in tribute to this fine man are deeply true, deeply moving……

      Now in the safest place of all……

      Will continue to pray for David’s family and friends…..

  • So sad–so sorry when we lose the good ones. I will remember him fondly, and think of his family.

  • What a loss! David leaves behind a legacy of helping folks who benefited from his charitable wisdom. It’s really tough to lose the good ones!

    I am sorry for his family! May they find comfort in knowing he loved them with all his heart.

  • Very sad news. My thoughts and prayers for him and his family. He will be missed.

  • As soon as I saw the headline, I let loose with a string of expletives at the sheer wrongness of this good man being gone. Oh, his family and friends. So, so sorry for your enormous loss. What sad news. May he find peace.

  • RIP. I hope he’s in a better place and isn’t hurting anymore.

    His comments were always insightful and thoughtful.

  • I am so sad to hear this news. He was so kind, and wise and generous to this community. I wish for peace for him and for those who loved him.

  • My condolences to his family and I am sorry for your loss too skatergirl. My heart is breaking for this life that was cut way too short. He was such a positive, smart and genuinely good man. It’s a very sad day. May you rest in peace David.

  • RIP kind Sir, your empathy, encouragement and insight will be sorely missed.

  • Longtime lurker here. I am so thankful ‘Chump Son’ was a part of this community and shared his insights and strong, solid advice. He is passing way too soon. My condolences to his loved ones.

  • May loving memories bring some level of comfort to those he leaves behind.

  • The measure of a life is how people remember them, & I can say with confidence that David’s life was well lived. So very sad that we have lost a voice of not only reason, but of reality & clarity. My thoughts and prayers are with his family both IRL & here. Rest well, stranger I got to know.

  • “A good heart has stopped beating.” My condolences to David’s loved ones, family, and friends. May loving memories comfort those he left behind. And may his kind strong words live on.

  • Ah. So sorry to hear this. I’m pretty new here but I’ve seen some of his posts. I’m sad for his family and friends and wish you all peace.

  • So sad, tears running down my face. I already miss his wisdom, I miss him saying “Chump son here,” I miss his astoundingly good advice. I feel that I have truly lost a friend, and I know that the world has lost an intelligent, compassionate and beautiful person.

    My condolences to David ‘s family and skatergirl. I am sorrier than words can ever say.

  • So sorry for his family’s loss, and for our loss of a thoughtful compassionate man. That post was the gentlest, wisest and most insightful. WHAT a gift to give to to lost, sad and lonely teenager.

    David, rest in peace. You live on through your eternal words, and in the support you gave to others.

    Thank you so much for all that you were and teaching us that pain can be transcended and transformed into true love.

  • My most sincere condolences to David’s family & friends for this awful loss. That he touched the hearts of strangers with his wise & inspiring words, speaks volumes for me.
    May he rest in peace.

  • This is such tragic news. My sincere condolences to David’s family and friends. What a wonderful man to have had in their lives. We, too, were fortunate that such a wonderfully kind spirt shared a part of himself with us. He will live on in the hearts and memories of his family and friends and this community. May God grant his family and friends strength and peace as they attempt to deal with his loss. May we all take comfort in knowing that there is now another angel watching over us all. Rest in Peace David.

  • My sincere condolences to his family and all who loved him. May he rest peacefully in the arms of God.

  • I am so sad to hear this.

    He is such an amazing man, he will live through all those he has touched. Even us who did not meet him in person, will remember his advice.

    My thoughts are with all his loved ones.

  • I’m sorry you’ve lost a friend and supporter, Tracy.

    FWIW, I think he’d want you to carry on with the mission you’ve found.

  • He took time out to help others who were struggling. I am so grateful for that and his comments were realistic and encouraging. Godspeed, David!

  • This is so sad! He was an amazing writer and clearly an amazing person. Rest in peace David. We will miss you.

  • This is so sad. When I read his comments his insight always was taken to heart. His point of view being the son of a narcissist helped me with thoughts of my own young son. I’m so sorry to hear this. He sounded like a really kind and thoughtful person. He will be missed.

  • “Chump Son knows how you feel.” Comforting, caring, David offered wisdom and hope with his perspective. Rest in peace kind sir. You will be missed.

  • Condolences and prayers to David’s family – his wisdom, clarity, and kindness have been so very valuable to me as I try to parent two “chumped” and fatherless children. Float with the angels, kind man.

  • I am sitting at my desk tearing up for a man I never met, but I liked a whole lot. I am so sorry to hear this.

  • Such sad, sad news. My condolences to his family and friends, those lucky enough to know him in person.

    Even though I never got a chance to meet him, his numerous intelligent and thoughtful posts really touched my heart and taught me many things. David was obviously extremely smart and caring, and I appreciated his insights as well as the importance he put on a thorough response. I am so grateful that David took the time to share his experiences with all of us, we are all better for it. He is missed, and will continue to be missed…I wish he was still with us.

  • I’m so sorry to see this today, sad seeing his sweet picture, thinking of the difficulties he went through growing up similar to so many, tearing up also reading all the comments for a man I never met that has imparted such comforting wisdom. He has left a mark on so many of us and we will all be part of the larger movement he wanted to see against damaging behaviors. My sincere condolences to you skatergirl and his family and all those who loved him.

  • I’m so sorry to hear this awful news. I have been continually checking in and praying for this man…someone I never had the privilege to meet, but who touched my heart regardless. I will continue to pray for his family and friends. What a sad day.

  • This is devastating. I’m so sorry for everyone that knew him. So unfair.

  • Such sad, sad news. He offered unbelievable insight which I valued, especially since I am raising two sons whose dad has very few good qualities.

    My condolences to his family, skatergirl, his friends. He touched more lives than I think his family and friends will ever understand. May love and memories surround you at this difficult time.

  • I’m so very sorry to hear this. I know we post here anonymously but I still feel that we are all part of a great kinship. David was so kind and generous to share his wisdom with Chump Nation. My sincerest condolences to Skatergirl and his family.

  • My sincere condolences to his family. I always enjoyed reading his responses and what a great writer he was. He will be missed and I pray that he and his family are at peace.

  • A huge loss. I always read his posts, he seemed like such a sweet, good man. So sad. My thoughts are with him and his loved ones. 🙁

  • I was just thinking about him this morning and wondering if there was any news, hoping no news was good news. This is certainly sad. He was a very accomplished individual and brought good advice to many.

  • Wow. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to check in here. I am so sorry to hear about the passing of David. RIP to him and my thoughts are very much with those who loved him. We’ve lost a great member of Chump Nation. Let’s do Chump Son proud by learning from his always very wise words.

  • So sorry to hear of his passing. My thoughts are with his family.

  • Very, very sad about this. I too have copied and pasted many of his comments, to read again and again. His note to Hannah is a perfect example — just substitute the word husband for Father, and it was such a great point: I never had a real husband. His words were always so helpful in understanding the narcs, and so often pushed me on my way to “meh.” Thank you, David, for sharing your hard-won wisdom with all of us. May your strength be remembered by those closest to you.

  • may his soul rest in peace. His unique voice, wise counsel and compassion will be missed.

  • I want to convey my heartfelt condolences to David’s family and friends, especially to Skatergirl.

    Please let us know if the family has designated any charity to which we can donate in memory of David.

  • May he rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Chump Son was full of insight and kindness. His comments always made me think and helped me so much through my divorce and dealing with my NPD ex. I will miss his presence here.

  • There are no right words when someone who is so kind, giving and loving gets taken by something that started so small.
    He fought for his voice and supported us – people he only knew online.
    I can only imagine what he was like to those who actually were part of his day to day life.
    Like so much else, it just isn’t fair.

  • I am so sorry for this loss. May he rest in peace and his friends/family find peace during this time.

  • OMG…I am so sorry to hear about his passing. 🙁 Dave’s post often provided me a clearer understanding of my own dynamics. May he finally rest in peace. 🙁

  • I’m really grieving Chump Son AKA David Clark Brooks. I googled him and I could have been his friend on Facebook if I had known his true name. I just know he would have been someone who I wanted to be real friends with in real life.
    Is there somewhere here where we could connect in real life and know who we really are before we die? Unexpectedly?
    I know we post anonymously here but I feel such a kinship with all of you and I don’t want to miss out on the chance again of really knowing who you are.

    • Agree! I feel such a kinship with many of you out there.
      I am so sorry and feel a real deep sadness on reading that David has passed away.
      My heartfelt condolences to David’s family.

  • Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. R W Raymond
    Godspeed, David

  • R.I.P., David. His posts were always wise and thoughtful. My condolences to his family and friends.

  • What a tragic loss. My heart breaks for his family. May he rest in peace (and he surely will. What purity of character). Again, just a confounding loss.

    • Thank you for sharing. I posted to the guestbook there. Let us know if you happen to find out if/where his family has arrangements for memorial comments/contributions. Thank you again.

  • My heart goes out to his family. May he rest in peace and he is now a guardian angel to all of us. I never had a chance to read his replies but I know he was caring to other people’s pain. May he rest in peace.

  • I am David’s wife and for almost two years I have tried to figure out what happened to us. He was beyond great. The prince that all of us dream of. Yes, we were happily married for 27 years, I was the lucky one. He is the one that got away. I don’t know how he got to be part of your group but I am proud of the support he gave. You have had a vacuum for almost two years. I will like to join the group and provide support or perhaps receive support. Thank you all for your comments about David. It has been a rough road to travel but I am a survival and David would not expect less than that. I don’t even know if this message will reach you but I felt a need to write it. N

    • Yes, Nancy, it has reached us! I was new to Chump Lady when Chump Son passed away. Yet, his sudden illness and passing made a huge impact on me. I prayed hourly for him & for you. Now, rarely does a day go by that I do not think of him & his tremendous love, insight and wisdom.

      I have gone back & read in the archives some of his comments. He was truly a special person and I am sick at heart for your family’s loss of such a fine man, husband, father, son. The human family also lost a precious man with his passing. I read the on-line Memorials & signed the book also, so it was clear to see he made a lasting impact for good during his life.

      I have no fancy words of comfort….Just my love reaching out across the miles to you and yours.


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