I’d like to dedicate this post to Jeff Snook, President of the Zach Smith Apologist Club, Leader of the Flying Monkeys, Indomitable Mouthpiece for the Smith/Bruce Family and Author of some book about Earle Bruce that most people have never heard of. (Flying Monkeys and Narcissists explained)
This was a Facebook post that my estranged mother, Tina Clay Carano, posted to her Facebook account in December 2015, after I filed official divorce papers. From this point forward, I will refer to her simply as “Tina” because she is unworthy of the sacred and beautiful designation, mother. As I have said in previous posts, during the 2015 domestic violence investigation, both my parents defended me and were aware of the abuse Zach inflicted upon me. In the investigation conducted by the Powell Police Department, both my father and Tina interviewed with the Powell PD on my behalf. Tina detailed what she witnessed during my marriage and she also turned over her iPad and phone to the police so they could download and authenticate the text messages between her and Zach. Text messages where she admitted to seeing bruises on me and confronted Zach about it (Link: Tina and Zach texts). Her text messages were used by Brett McMurphy in his story; however, her interview was not available at the time of my interview because the Powell PD attempted to suppress all the investigation files and no one had access to any interviews at that time. (Columbus Dispatch Lawsuit)
I have cutup the audio for easy listening, here are short excerpts from her interview, you can listen to the full 30 minute interview here (Tina Carano Recordings) The Powell PD has redacted mine and Zach’s names.
Tina talks about how Zach would degrade me in front of other people:
“Let’s talk about the neck” Tina and detective discuss seeing marks on me from Zach:
Tina tells detective that Zach would admit the abuse to her and apologize:
Tina tells detective Zach would admit to abuse in text messages and offers her phone to the detective:
Tina tells detective about the night Zach smashed my car with a golf club when I found him cheating on me:
Tina tells detective she fears Zach will take a gun to me. Detective talks about his concern Zach will do something to me:
Tina loans Zach money so he can get help, but he lies to her:
Tina discusses my children witnessing Zach’s abusive behavior:
In May of 2018, she changed her story after a major falling out between us. In a tactic used by many Narcissists – they will recruit people to help them in their abuse and these people are called “flying monkeys” or “apaths” (about flying monkeys). Zach used this tactic on Tina and got her to not only change her story, but to also do an interview with Jeff Snook, a man who is close friends with the Smith/Bruce Family and is also their media mouthpiece. Her interview has become the rallying cry of the Zach Smith Apologists Club. I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard/read “even her own mother doesn’t believe her” as if an estranged parent turning against their own flesh and blood is totally implausible. Below are the interviews that Tina and Zach’s mother Lynn Bruce, did in August 2018 when I first went public with my story.
I admit that I was very shocked that Tina went as far as she did and that I’m still hurt that she could go so far, but for years we had ongoing issues that were simmering just below the surface. During those years, not only had she started spending less and less time with me and my sister, she was becoming extremely volatile to the point that she was arrested in June 2016 for stalking and harassing her then boyfriend. I have posted the full report of her arrest below. In the report filed by her ex-boyfriend, he discusses all their issues and also included the dozens of emails sent by Tina. In those emails, there are references to me and my sister, but more importantly there are references to Zach and his problems. Keep in mind, these emails were written by the same women who accused me of being a drunk, a liar and being abusive. You can read the full report here: Tina Carano Full Stalking_Domestic Violence Report
Timeline submitted by Tina’s ex-boyfriend to Naples Police where he discusses her stalking, harassment and issues she had with me and my sister. (click images for larger view)
Emails where she references Zach’s many issues, p. 80 and 172 of police report.
On a side note – I am also posting Zach’s mother’s (Lynn Bruce) arrest record, both these women, Lynn and Tina, have publicly accused me of being a drunk, violent and unstable, without a shred of evidence to back it up. In the report, you can see that she was arrested at football game for drunk and disorderly conduct and assault. She struck an usher then told an officer “You can’t do this to me. Do you know who I am? My dad is Earle Bruce and my son is a coach” Entitled much? You can read the full arrest report here Lynn Bruce Full Assault Report
Before I get into all the details of why Tina changed her story 3 years after the investigation, you first have to understand her background. Before I go any further, believe me, the whole Jerry Springer feel to all this has not escaped me. It’s tragic, embarrassing and disgusting, but it is what it is and I cannot change it. All I can do now is tell the truth about it and hope that if other women see themselves in my story, they take action to change their circumstances. (Advice – Why it’s ok to cut toxic family out of your life)
To say that my relationship with Tina is complicated is an understatement. Growing up, I have been through so many ups and downs with her that I can honestly say, I am relieved to be off the TinaCoaster, even if it had to happen as it did. She was an abusive mother, who was unstable and unpredictable and would often hit me and my sister with objects like brushes, hair dryers, TV remotes and even her own fists. She would call us names like moron, crazy, little bitches, ugly, disgraces, ridiculous, stupid, and worst of all “mistakes.” At the age of 15, she once she pulled over and parked her car so she could turn towards me in the backseat and punch me repeatedly with closed fists. Her reason for why she hit me – because “I was talking back to her.” Many mornings, Tina would wait in the kitchen for me to come downstairs as I would be on my way to school. If the outfit I was wearing wasn’t one of her choices or if my hair wasn’t styled the way she wanted it, she would send me back upstairs to fix it according to her standards. It was exhausting, took it’s toll on my self-esteem and from a very a young age I was filled with anxiety that persists to this day, but guess what? I still loved her because she was my mother, the only mother I had.
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In high school, I was cheer captain, on the national honor society, made homecoming court, had many friends and I graduated with honors…it was never enough. I went to college at The University of Kentucky and there I was accepted by my first choice sorority, made many friends and graduated with a 3.7 GPA and a degree in Interpersonal Communications; I then landed an incredible sales job after graduation. Looking back, I had everything going for me in order to be successful on my own. Yet, Tina felt it was best for me to marry young because she was concerned my disability (bilaterally deaf) would leave me vulnerable and I would need a husband to watch over me. I was 23 years old when my now ex-husband proposed to me and although I believe I loved him then, I felt immense pressure to marry very young.
I now realize that she is one of the reasons I stayed with Zach and tolerated the abuse for so long. Having an abusive and unstable mother, I was conditioned to that kind of treatment, it’s all I ever knew. She also constantly gave me mixed messages about my marriage to Zach. First she would tell me to leave him and not put up with the abuse and then alternately tell me I should stay with Zach and get him help ‘for my kids sake’ and to keep our family together. Read more about how child abuse can lead to victims being in future abusive relationships – Trauma Survivors Risk Future Abusive Relationships.
Going further into our background, from infancy and for the first 10 years of my life, I was not raised by Tina. I was raised by a man I believed was my biological father, her first husband Richard. Tina gave birth to me at 20 years old and was in and out of my life. She was young, uneducated, immature, unstable, abusive and spent most of her days partying and sleeping around. She lied to Richard and convinced him that he was my biological father. He accepted me with no questions asked. He also dropped out of school, Muskingum College, where he played football and wrestled, to raise me and re-enrolled at Franklin University School of Business. Richard had full custody of me and raised me while working his way through school, eventually graduating with a business degree. He worked full time as a single dad and gave me the best life he possibly could in spite of the circumstances.
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When I turned 7 years old, Tina married a man name Lyndon, who I don’t remember very much about, the reason being – she married Lyndon so he could get a visa to the United States. They divorced 2 years later. As you can see, Tina wasn’t known for making the best decisions in life, especially as a mother.
It wasn’t until I was 10 years old when I underwent a paternity test, that it was discovered Richard was not my biological father. Tina finally wanted custody of me and started filling my head with lies about Richard and his new wife. I was confused, angry, and feeling lost. I was very young and impressionable and I bought into everything Tina told me. There was so much drama during that time in my life, that I regretfully took my anger and hurt out on Richard and my step mom. At 12 years old, I decided that I no longer wanted to live with Richard and eventually I stopped communicating with him altogether.
Although, Tina hadn’t been much of a mother the first 10 years of my life, she seemed like she finally had her shit together. Like most young girls on the cusp of becoming a teenager, I desperately wanted a mother figure in my life. I chose to move in with her and my new stepdad Michael, the man who would later adopt me. Tina now had a new husband, a stable home and a few years later gave birth to a baby girl, my sweet sister. For the most part, even with all the drama and confusion, I was happy and thriving, which I credit to developing an extremely close bond with my adoptive father. He set a great example for me and my sister by always putting us first. In every way possible, he took care of all of us and even paid for my college education at the University of Kentucky. I also credit my father for helping Tina get her life together and pushing her to be a present mother during my middle and high school years.
Life was good for a little while, Tina being Tina though, she continued being abusive mentally and physically to me and my sister and she started once again living a life that wasn’t conducive to a family. To be fair to my father, he did intervene in situations where Tina was being abusive, however, he is a very soft-spoken and gentle man who is totally over-powered by Tina’s domineering personality. He is the “peace-keeper” type and I appreciate that about him, he deserves credit for balancing the very strong women in his life. When I turned 23 years old, her marriage started to fall apart and my parents ended up officially divorced by the time I turned 29. Being the honorable, kind and wonderful man he is, my dad stuck by both his daughters and continued his role as our father. My mother, however, returned to her old ways and gave up custody of my teenage sister and moved to Florida leaving me and my dad to raise her. Throughout that time, we did our best to maintain a relationship with Tina. She kept a condo in Powell and would visit from Florida, mostly during the football season as she was a huge Buckeye fan. She took immense pride in her daughter being married to an Ohio State football coach and enjoyed all the perks that went with it…she really loved those perks!
After the divorce and during the investigation, Tina was by my side defending me all the way, but Zach being the emotional vampire that he is, saw the weaknesses in her and started forging a relationship with her, much of which took place behind my back. He continued to give her perks such as football tickets, concert tickets, sideline passes, and would visit her in Florida without my knowledge. Because Zach was so jealous of my new boyfriend, he preyed on her ignorance and began feeding her false information about my boyfriend (now fiance). When I discovered what was going on, I was irate, disgusted and felt completely betrayed. Knowing everything he had done to me and knowing the conflict and havoc he was still creating in my life, yet still choosing to take anything and everything she could from him, was more than I could handle.
I couldn’t believe that she would continue to have a relationship with a man that was so abusive to me and would also frequently insult her, my father and even my teenage sister. She would also receive information from people in the community about Zach’s disturbing behavior, yet it still wasn’t enough to keep her away from him. This all coincided with Zach’s arrest for Criminal Trespass in May 2018. During that time, I felt under attack from all sides and it was obvious to me that Zach, facing an arrest, was desperate for allies and he found an easy one in Tina. Why after having left that toxic and abusive man 3 years earlier was he still so enmeshed in my life? I finally drew a line in the sand and told her that I would not tolerate her continued relationship with him. Our fallout wasn’t pretty, we both said hurtful things to each other and as everyone knows, the end result was she chose Zach over me and my teenage sister.
Where we are now
I don’t believe there exists a family in this world that is without it’s dysfunction. However, when dysfunction develops into abuse, it’s ok to end relationships for the purpose of self preservation, even with family members, even with parents. No one should ever have to live with abuse regardless of genetics. The two most influential people in my life, my first non-bio father, Richard and my adoptive father, Michael have been my world during different phases in my life. They are the ones that have shown me that a person, a man, even with all his faults can grow and be enough. I can’t say that Tina hasn’t done some good things for me in my life, but the good does not outweigh all the bad and it isn’t enough to look back and hold on to that relationship.
To this very day, I do not know who my biological father is, but fortunately after 21 years, I have reconnected with Richard, my step mom and their now grown children. This re-connection has answered many life long questions, filled a void within me and has made me realize just how much damage one person can do to an entire family. I realize Richard was not a perfect man, but I do believe he did the best he could and I never should have allowed myself to be manipulated by Tina to the point of cutting off contact with him.
I haven’t spoken to Tina in over a year and I never will again. My younger sister has no relationship with her either, it’s unlikely they will ever speak again either. My sister’s thought’s are “if she’ll do it to you, she’ll do it to me.” She wasn’t invited to my sister’s high school graduation, she won’t be welcome at my upcoming wedding, if my sister eventually gets married, she won’t be welcome there either and if she ever has children, she won’t be in their lives as well. I still struggle to understand what possessed her to do what she did, even with all her faults, it’s hard to imagine a mother doing that to her children. I often wonder if she has the mental capacity to understand what she has done to me, my sister, and my father. I have no idea how Zach got her to change her story and I don’t know if other people were involved in it or if she received payment for it, but I have my suspicions. Whatever she got out of it, I hope it was worth it and will carry her until the end of her life.
Best wishes to you, Tina!