By | November 5, 2008 21 Comments

Captive Audience for a Murderer

When my father was released from prison in 1987 I had no idea what he was about to do. Not even close. I wanted to believe that he might be successful again, but deep down I knew the truth. My father had never really been successful, it was all a lie. He had always been a conman. But the truth can be a tricky thing in certain circumstances and my denial of that simple fact was about to lead me into 17 months as a witness to my father’s killing spree that would leave four people dead.

For years I had been riddled with guilt, shame, physical illnesses and repressed memories as a result of what I witnessed and learned during those 17 months. Funny thing about it today is I’m still not sure if I had a choice. Well, actually I did. The choice was to go along for the ride or possibly be one of his victims. I chose to be his captive audience and what I witnessed is the face of evil. That evil is my father, a cold blooded, calculating killer. No remorse. No guilt. No love. These were the characteristics and acts of a sociopath.

He enjoyed telling me about it. I think the thrill he got from telling me was greater than the fear that I might actually be different than him. You see, I had never done anything that might indicate to my father that I thought criminal behavior was okay, but I never denounced it either. Maybe he didn’t know because I always kept my mouth shut. Even when I was young and he would tell me about something that sounded illegal, I would just smile and nod. Inside (growing up) I always felt “less than” or inferior because I couldn’t stomach what my father could do. This was a problem as a kid because I wanted to be just like him. I mean I idolized him, like most boys do their Dads. Problem was, I didn’t think I was “man enough” to be like him and it made me sick. So the best I could do was smile and act impressed when he would do something I couldn’t “stomach”. I was sure I was a failure, but didn’t want him to know it.

After serving 3 ½ years for white collar crime (land fraud) my Dad was released. This is where his activities overwhelmed me and painted me into a corner. I became a hostage. This is not an excuse for not stopping him, it is how I felt. He played it perfectly with me. Always giving me enough information that I became his confidant, but never enough that I could have stopped him. Maybe he was having a little problem with the truth as well, and didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that I wasn’t a willing participant in these conversations. Maybe that’s why he never gave me the crime scene or enough detail to put it all together. He was right you know. Because the first time I saw my father described on TV in connection with a murder I called crime line tips. Problem with this”¦it didn’t work. They didn’t pick him up and I was still stuck with him. I gave the cops his name and they didn’t even question him.

My younger brother was still living with him and I didn’t want to appear suspicious so I continued to be around him. Only now, I had the constant fear of that phone call I made. Could he tell when he was around me? The police had come to my house the night I called”¦could he find out?

I’ll tell you the biggest problem with all this, looking back. I never consciously thought that my father might kill me if he found out. That is not a “rational” or natural thought. We are not programmed to be able to make a connection like that. But subconsciously, I knew because my behavior was all about survival. It would be 20 years before it really sunk in that he would kill me in a heartbeat. He liked me and was proud of me. I was one of his prized possessions. But that’s all I was, a possession. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. A sociopath cannot love.

These stories are about what I witnessed and how I felt. It’s about how I managed what appeared to be a normal life to others and the people that saved me from a horrible fate. You see, the bottom line is this:

I am blessed with a family and friends beyond my wildest dreams. All because I began to tell the truth. I am free today and would not change a thing in my life. So with that in mind, I share my experience with the hope that others might benefit from these stories and realize that they are not alone. There is hope and a pathway to freedom.

Posted in: Cases, Travis Vining

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I knew it was you Travis ! LOVE jere


What a chilling account, and you didn’t even give any details! I can’t believe there are people out there who’ve been unfortunate enough to have to grow up in the presence of psychopaths and still turn out okay. Kudos to you, Ox, and all others here who have made it through the fire.

And thanks for sharing.


What a harrowing childhood and proceeding adulthood you were forced to endure. When I say forced, as a child we rely on our parents to love and protect us. There’s not much we can do as wee tykes to save ourselves from harm especially from evil fathers and mothers. We have no choice but to endure the situation, with all the pain and suffering brought upon us.

I feel for you, I do. My biological father was a psychopath (died last year in prison from lung cancer) but if he was involved with illegal activity while my mother was married to him, I’m unaware of it nor do I concern myself too much with his past. He was more of the lazy, parasite P who sponged off my mother while she worked her butt off to feed and take care of 3 daughters….and his useless self. He was abusive and cruel to her and my older sister. I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit sought me out at an early age because I was chatting with God around 5 years of age. My P father was a nihilist (as all Ps are) and my mother never mentioned any connection to the Creator, so how did I know to pray? hmm.

I think I was protected from my P father’s evil at a very tender age. I KNEW he was wrong, bad and wanted nothing to do with him. This may sound melodramatic, but he seemed to ooze evil from every pore. I was disgusted and seriously repulsed by him. I never talked to him even when he would show up out of the blue with lavish Christmas presents (few and far between) I was noncommittal.

So you see, even if I wasn’t my P father’s confidante as your father chose to force upon you, I do emphatically understand living in the presence of an evil parent. I’ve had my own emotional and spiritual issues to deal with over the years and I was only able to finally begin to heal and recover by discovering the truth of what he was: A psychopath.

To finally be able to put a definition to such cruel and evil behavior and actions is such a complete relief. Incredible relief.

Thank you for sharing your painful, yet liberating memories.

Peace, love, joy to all….


Travis, Your journey through pain, denial, suffering and shame to love and freedom is truly inspiring and uplifting. I cannot imagine how difficult the opening up of your feelings must have bene.

I hope I never need to share your story with my sons. They are the chosen captive audience of their dad at present and I fear for their well being, though not their physical safety. (unless he is driving or boating or around other potentially dangerous stuff, as he has no sense of caring for the safety and well being of himself or others).

They are still trying to have a “normal” relationship, and to also somehow justify and “normalize” his behaivor. This is natural. But hard to watch when one has been bludgeoned by the emotional cruelty of the very same man.

Your story gives me great comfort. You were NOT like him, and your wisdom and humanity prevaled. So important to hear for the likes of me. Thank you for posting here.


Travis this passage struck me as an extremely good description of what they do:

“Always giving me enough information that I became his confidant, but never enough that I could have stopped him. Maybe he was having a little problem with the truth as well, and didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that I wasn’t a willing participant in these conversations. Maybe that’s why he never gave me the crime scene or enough detail to put it all together.”

They love that. The dropping of hints. The sly references. The just-enough-truth to make you feel like you’re a part of what they do. That you are somehow responsible.

My own P-father was a ranter and raver. He’d force my mother and me to stay awake, sometimes for days, listening to his screaming and yelling. Once, I remember that he came in drunk and woke us up to listen to him yell. My mother kept drifting off to sleep and he got tired of slapping her awake, so he made me stay awake and LOOK HIM DIRECTLY IN THE EYES while he screamed. I remember thinking inside my own head “You can make me look at you, but you can’t make me become like you.”

I am grateful for whatever it is inside us that keeps us from becoming like them. Damaged though we may be, we are not like them.


Dear Travis: I know what I am about to write you is not the appropriate time or place to do so, but, I’m going to write it anyway and hope you and other bloggers understand what I am going to write.

Forgive your father and know, if he knew how to live his life better, he would have. I know this is very controversial, but it was your father’s perception of life, that lead him on his path of destruction. He was blinded by his own perception of life. Blinded by the vices of life and not guided to learn the wisdom of all God’s virtues.

Yes, we all have choices, but who was there to guide your father into making righteous choices versus the unrighteous choices?

Who was in your father’s life to show him how to step back from his myopic view of life and show him that there is a bigger, brighter picture that could be seen, if only someone showed him how to see?

What I am saying is that we all need nurturing and guidance all through our lives, at every age of our lives … as we give guidance and nurture others. This nurturing should not stop when we get out of school and go venture into the world … it should be done throughout our lives, each and every one of our lives… for we are our brothers keepers.



Anyone Who has not read this needs to !

Robert D. HARE

Bigdude here it is!


What a chilling story, albeit one with a triumphant ending (and I celebrate that with you). After you realized what your father was and that he was using you, was there a period of grieving that you never had the love of a caring father? Or were you so accustomed to it that you didn’t know the difference? I grew up with narcissists and psychopaths, and I definitely feel the loss ofhaving never really being parented. Part of me always wants that, even though I’m 48 and have mostly learned to parent myself. (That’s mostly what made me vulnerable to the S I met back in April). I’m just curious how others deal with the neglect part.

Thanks for sharing your uplifting story.


Travis where abouts in Orlando are you can I use your Credit card :)~


Travis, I don’t often quote Bible passages (being more generally spiritually but not religiously inclined), but two of them seem to apply when dealing with sociopaths:

1) “The truth shall set you free.”
2) “If your right arm offends thee, cut it off”

Is there anyone here who has not been offended by a sociopath?


StarG: Great quotes … but, they were written for the psychopaths … first quote “the truth will set you free is for psychos to start telling truth, which will heal them from their double mindedness … telling lies, living lies … lying and conning others.

Second quote “If your right arm offends the, cut it off” means to internalize your thoughts, purge yourself of evil thoughts and if you do, you are then free to think of the virtues in life. Purge yourself of evil, so you can live.

Good quotes tho … and they do help us too … even if they weren’t written specifically for us … doesn’t hurt to head the words of wisdom.

Oh, and why I’m blogging … off to another topic of the movies again … did anyone notice the first 5 minutes of Gone With The Wind? When Scarlett is flirting with everyone at the Bar-B-q … that’s double mindedness … double talk, telling folks what they want to hear so they all focus on Scarlett, Scarlett, Scarlett.

I worked with a full blown Scarlett … always flirting, always saying out loud to everyone (male and female) gushing sweetness so she was irresistable to everyone …had to be center of attention at all times … none stop.

Men couldn’t help but oggle her … but they’d always say as she past and was out of earshot … so and so is a gorgeous woman … but she is death, stay away from her … definitely trouble in the making … look at a distance, but don’t dare touch.

I noticed that she never could be alone and she never was quiet… that too is written in the Bible. She was always going, going, going … none stop.



Wini, I thought those quotes were for everyone! They certainly have meaning for me. But I’m not an expert on the Bible.


StarG: They are for everyone to read … and move forward from learning the wisdom obtained from them … we already learned those lesson not to live in our egos and not to use and abuse others …

Reading and studying the Bible is a life long responsibility … and as you pointed out … our perceptions of what is written does change as we experience life … good or bad, they are all learning experiences of life … as we keep our focus on God and how he wants us to live … humbly.

Think about this … if our EXs stood on street corners hawking their wares … we would run from them not to solicit them … see they just got smarter and hide what they truly are … but they are still street walkers, all of them … hiding behind their masks …

Oh, and someone else mentioned about their EX always read the Bible. I forgot who asked me this … it might have been Jen2008. My answer is anyone can read the Bible, it’s not off limits to anyone … but, you can not read wisdom while your ego is running amuck … you have to be humble as you read the wisdom of God … That’s why he tells us to stay humble …

A good friend’s younger sister was married to a preacher … he ended up being a psycho … and he can quote scriptures … but sadly, he didn’t stay humble to understand the wisdom. That’s the catch … stay humble to learn what God wants to teach us and he wants all of us to understand his wisdom.



Oh, and if you need help in deciphering God’s wisdom … pray to him for help and he will guide you accordingly.



I don’t understand my ex sociopath. He was so for Obama while we were together. He was telling me back then that I really needed to check him out. Now he is sending out mass email on why Obama is going to be a really bad president. I find it strange because everything he told me while we were together was a lie. Everything! Even things that didn’t directly concern our relationship like the presidential election. I really like what you said Travis in that I don’t have to understand it, I just have to accept it. Because I really don’t understand it at all, and trying to understand it makes me feel crazy.


You will never understand because our minds are not wired that way. You will drive yourself crazy trying to understand. The most important thing to understand is:

No Contact. They are dangerous.


I wish I could go completely no contact, but we have a new baby together, and legally I can’t. I do the best I can with no contact, in following what my lawyer told me I needed to do and the tips here at lovefraud. Are they all dangerous? They aren’t all murderers, am I right? Or are they all latent murderers? How are they dangerous?


StarG: They are dangerous to your mind, body and soul. They are roller coaster rides … if you care to always play and go up and down, up and down … or merry go rides … round and round … never will you have your feet planted solidly on the ground. They have no substance to them, they are sinking in quick sand … there is nothing real to them … they are an illusion of life … they don’t live … they are the walking dead … the zombies of the world … the NO THINGS …

That’s why it is best to have NO CONTACT … so your heart, mind, body and soul don’t get sucked into their abyss… telling you what you want to hear, and not following through with it, telling you, you’re the only one, and their are many they will see besides you, telling you they love you, when they say that to everyone … telling you they will pay the bills, the mortgage the rent, the credit cards, the this the that … and you find your home being foreclosed, lights and power turned off, phone disconnected, bills not paid, credit cards bilked to their ceiling, liens put on your name and your credit … while they are off with someone else, spending your money, using your vehicle, owning and living in your house, your cottage, your condo … get the message … they are the whores of society … except they don’t stand on street corners so you know who they are … they have many disguises now … and when you remove the mask … you will see them for what they are … hey sailor, you got a $20.00 for a …

I don’t know how to sign this one.


StarG: Type in Proverbs in your search engine … and read what the Bible says about EVIL people and why they do what they do … they refuse to listen to wisdom and live their lives humbly.

They too know what the Bible says about them or how mental health professionals have been warning people about them (they read too, watch TV, go to the movies, live in society like the rest of us … they know what’s going on, except they don’t care) … that’s why the masks … to fool everyone in society so they can get what they want, when they want it, any thing or one they want, any where they want it. They just want … that’s it … and who cares what anyone else wants. Period!!! Look in the dictionary under SELFISH, you’ll see their photos … it changes with whoever wants to look them up.



Thankyou for your prayers and good advice my beautiful Lily

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