Editor’s Note: The author of this piece, Travis Vining, told his story to Lovefraud readers back in 2008. He is the son of a psychopath, and wrote about how confusing it was to know that the man was his father, and also a murderer. Travis’ previous blog articles are listed under “True Lovefraud Stories.”
Travis helped get his father, John Vining, convicted of three murders. The Orlando Sentinel recently published a three-part series of articles about Travis and the murders. You can read the articles here:
Since I first wrote for Lovefraud in October of 2008 my life has become a series of extraordinary events and real life miracles as A Witness to Healing. It is astonishing what can happen when we realize that we really are not alone, ask for help and become honest with ourselves and others.
In January of 2010 I was finally able to help cold case detectives solve one final murder that my father committed in 1987. It was his first victim, the one that started it all. After months of “pressure” I was finally able to convince my father, who is still on Florida’s Death Row, to give a written confession that included the location of the body. Although the remains have not yet been recovered, the confession and details about the crime are enough to close the case. I have now been able to bring closure to three unsolved murders that my father committed.
I have also written a book that is soon to be published (Son of Terror—A Confrontation with Evil Reveals the Truth about My Father…and Me) and become an inspirational and educational speaker. I speak to dozens of groups a year, detailing my experience with sociopaths and the 17 months when I was my father’s “trusted confidante” as he planned and murdered four people. This journey may have started in hell, but it ended in heaven. My story is really about overcoming life’s tragedies. My hope is that this book will inspire readers to transform their own challenges and tragedy into peace, joy and a deeper understanding of divine wisdom.
In 2009, I was given the opportunity to team up with Toni Furbringer, PhD., a licensed clinical social worker and founder of Heartwork to introduce “Victory Through Peace,” a project dedicated to helping people and families affected by similar devastating relationships and experiences, as well as anyone suffering from addiction, compulsive behavior, depression or trauma. This wonderful relationship and project have turned the liabilities of my childhood and early adult life into one of my greatest assets.
More importantly, I have come in contact with the children of three of my father’s victims and it has been a truly extraordinary experience. It is through these relationships that I am beginning to see true healing, in ways that I never thought possible. These events that have occurred are not by chance and cannot simply be explained away as “coincidences”.
If I use my experience with my father as a measuring stick I should no longer question circumstances in my life or try to label them as “good” or “bad.” Those 17 months with my father looked pretty bad at the time. In fact, it seemed like the end of the world. And today? It’s one of my greatest assets. It is a gift. A gift of experience that seems to provide others who are suffering in life with inspiration, hope and a willingness to believe that all things do work out for the better, maybe even helping them take a step closer to our creator.
If you don’t believe in miracles, imagine this for just a minute. All that evil stuff that my father did in his life is now helping people who are suffering find their way to a higher power that can help them bring meaning, peace and joy into their lives. My father…he wanted to harm people and now his story is helping people find the very peace that he tried to destroy. He tried to take life and now his story gives it. This is what happens when we become willing to ask for help, and more importantly, accept that help.
Sharing my experience with sociopaths openly in the right forum and finding others that have had similar experiences was one of the most important steps towards recovery. It helped to teach me about the importance of true forgiveness. That forgiveness led me to a life that is full of peace and happiness. Much of it started with my writing on this site. I am grateful that Donna Andersen provides this forum. It is an extremely useful service for those of us that have had experiences with sociopaths. And for that…I am forever grateful.
Travis F. Vining