A Witness to Healing

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:

Part 1 of 3: In ”˜o4, killer’s son recalled dad admitted to 2 killings

Part 2 of 3: Plan by killer John Vining’s son involves betrayal, lies, audiotape

Part 3 of 3: Search for killer John Vining’s 4th victim ”˜not over’

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

Comment on this article

59 Comments on "A Witness to Healing"

Notify of

Gnite Hens 🙂

Hi to All,
Happy Mother’s day to all of you who have children. My hope for us all is to heal and be of some light and healing to other’s in our lives. I thought Travis’s story really shows this well. Certainly he overcame so much grief and he turned it around to bring help to others.
I have not had a good week. I feel so low, that I am uncertain of my own drive to recover. So, I came here and see that many have suffered far more than I …..can I give up so easily?
I am going to pray that my drive to overcome what I allowed, and what a man did to me…that my drive to be well…will come back.
I want to live my life in a way that counts, for others as well as myself. Giving up will not accomplish that.
Hugs to all,


Hi Blue-

We’ve all had moments when we wanted to throw in the towel. I found my path through the pain in writing about it. Doing so gave me clarity and a sense of purpose. Sometimes I’d force myself to go for a run, just to get the endorfins pumping. The hardest part was getting going. Once I did, I wanted to continue feeling better and began limiting the time frame I’d allow myself to be sad. And I’m happy to confide that anti-depressants kept me on an even keel.

You are grieving a loss. You can and will get through it with time, distance and enlightenment. Sometimes we’re stuck in rumination that is counterproductive to lifting our spirit, so if you haven’t done so already, I hope you’ll locate a therapist who can provide the support you need.

Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day and a speedy recovery!



Hi folks,

Have come for some advice.

My uncle is a narc. about a year ago he put my grandma in a home a day away from her friends and family. he recently took her to the his home 4,000 miles away as she was failing. she’s now back in the city he sent her off to, and she is in a lock down ward in a hospital. she has dementia and has had a TIA.

okay, that’s the back story.

in response to his email sent out to a number of her friends yesterday, he stated that the system will keep her in the hospital until they can get her into the right kind of care.

I suggested that he might try some places in the city she used to live in, and that this would allow her friends and family to visit. he has money and flies everywhere – won’t inconvenience him if she is in another city.

i have been very ill. i have not had the reserve energy to deal with him, to be able to speak to her during her time with him.

he wrote back, that he doubted i would visit as i hadn’t been calling.

I have a myriad of responses to this. i keep reminding myself that he is a narc; and has never had to deal with anything like this and is no doubt feeling really sorry for himself.

not sure what to say to him. want to be strategic, but i don’t think there is a long game here – unless he moves her back to where she used to live, or to a nearby city, i may never get to see her again. don’t know that what i say or don’t say will impact on my seeing her, or dealing with the will, when it comes to that. he’s a pig and he will take whatever he wants, anyway. whoa, that was quite the statement. i gues i am not thinking end game, i just want to whack the mf.

which is why i am writing. it’s like going to a 12 step meeting.

i have learned to show force, purposely, since being jacked around by the spath. however, i don’t think it has netted me much gain. i never feel better about the situation in the long term, nor about myself. i have learned that the less one gives these creeps the better.

However, what happens if i don’t respond in any way? nothing, not a damn thing, ‘cept i keep feeling like i live in a skewed universe where my feet never touch the ground. tired of feeling like a character in my own life.

if i follow my first impulse and say something my grandma would say, ‘Judging the lives and abilities of others isn’t attractive. You can cut that out right now’, what does that do for me? i am tired of acting scared around these people but, being smart is important. how will doing any one thing affect me, and the end game?

Well, what is the emd game? – i probably will see this guy once or twice more in my life. I don’t think he can make it any more difficult to see Gram than he already has. He will do whatever he wants with her things after she dies, there will be no momento from her belongings…man, i am in a state.

disease has already taken gram from me, but he has made it impossible to see her. i would go see her in a few weeks if she were closer. i can’t make the trip to where she is. it’s too far, and there is no way to do it in a day via train and bus. I am not strong enough. i cannot drive it, as a rental cars will make me more ill.

i don’t want to be reasonable…is there any point? he’s a narc. he hasn’t talked to his own sister for over 40 years for some imagined slight. god, i hate these people.

and i have come to no conclusion – often do when i write – ‘cept i feel like being unreasonable. maybe one of you can come up with a better idea of what I can do to meet my needs.


oh look, billy graham is selling religion on lovefraud, standing in front of the american flag.

Hi one:

I am not a religious person either. There are a lot of articles in the Archives that are more personal to dealing with sociopaths and narcissists. After reading your previous comment about your Uncle, I would just like to say that I am sorry to hear that a narcissist has chosen to move your grandmother away from you. It doesn’t sound like you have any legal or personal say in this matter which is very unfortunate. However, maybe you can send letters and cards to where she is at this time. Elderly people love to get mail and it could help you stay connected in a personal way without being able to see her at this time. The truth is we can’t control disordered people. All we can do is find ways to put up with with them that work for us (detaching emotionally) or no contact (detaching physically) or both. Maybe writing to your grandmother would help you let her know what is going on in your life and that you miss her. If any other family members got involved in where she goes next, they might find your cards and letters and feel that it would be good for her to be living closer to you. It would be some kind of connection for now and a good way to communicate in a loving way with your grandmother you are missing. You will find support here as you witness what your narcissistic uncle is doing. As I deal with family and others who have these personality disorders, I find that I can only do so much and I do only that. Hope this helps a tiny bit. I’m sure your grandmother would be very happy to hear from you if that is possible.


Hi Fight,

My mom also has Alzheimer’s, and my rule of thumb for them both is lots of cards and letters and visits when possible. No phone calls – too hard for people who can’t keep the story line. Visits are really important as they are the only way that a 2 way connection can be made. I haven’t had any communication from mom or gram in quite a while – first it was that they didn’t remember to write, now it’s that they don’t remember how to write.

Unfortunately there is no one else but my sib and I (both living in the same town, both with limited resources and health challenges – although we have told him we would be happy to have her here, this would also take her away form her freinds), and the uncle is the only one who will hold much sway over this as he is footing the bill for gram to some extent. My grandmother is very old, she will not last much longer. She has had a long life, some of it very good and some of it very difficult – but she has been very independent and never wanted to to go live with him. He wrote in his email that she had run away down the tarmac away from the plane and him. Both my sib and i had the same response to that – seemed like a reasonable reaction. My sib and i are not able to join forces in any meaningful way. She is a narc, too. I generally don’t have any communication with her, except about gram.

Not calling Gram over this last while has been hard. the uncle had set up skype – which i thought might work as she could see me and that might help with holding the story line. But i wasn’t able to. I didn’t have the emotional resources to deal with her disease and with his disorder. I decided that I had to put myself first to recover from surgery and deal with my health issues.

Thanks for your reply. (I am a lovefraud oldtimer. I rarely post anymore.) This desire to control the disordered, or those who act like it, comes up from time to time. It’s all since the spath. Before the spath, I was busy being duped and being compassionate with the bloodsuckers. Now i just want to smack them over the head with pots when they show up in my sandbox.


Hi fight, got over wanting to hit him with a pot, called the hospital she is in, and printed off a bunch of photos for her, wrote a letter and its ready to go into the mail tomorrow. I have decided not to answer my uncle – to focus on the solution (being in touch with gram to the best of my ability), and not the problem of my uncle’s narc behaviour. thanks.

Hi one/: I am new here and it is very helpful to share. I am glad you wrote a letter. I believe writing her letters will help you. If she understands them, that will be nice. But, the letters will help you feel better connected even if she can’t respond. Hoping you are still feeling more peace.

1 4 5 6

Send this to a friend