Serial Killers

A Psychological Look

Serial Killers

Child abuse, through mental and physical abuse, affects the psychological makeup of a person. It corrupts the person and can create the very horror that we know as a serial killer. Some of the most famous serial killers that we know of were abused as children. However, does this atrocity limit itself to victims of abuse or can genetics play a role in the outcome of a person in addition to or in light of child abuse?

Charles Manson was born in Cincinnati Ohio to a neglectful mother who had placed him in foster care and left him on his own for most of his life. Charles Manson was neglected as a child, and along with not knowing who his biological father was, he more than likely suffered from severe psychological problems as a result. In an interview on Tomorrow aired in 1981 with Tom Snyder, Manson and Snyder discussed Manson’s mother, and Manson had described her as a bawdy woman who at one time beat him up for his money. He had said that he had "punched her because she did not do right." From reading the accounts of the life that Charles Manson has led, having spent most of his life in and out of prison from the age of 13 on, he is a deeply disturbed individual whose problems could have arisen from a life of parental neglect and abuse that was befallen on him from his mother. However, one must note that Manson did not have direct contact with the murders he orchestrated—besides that fact, he fits the profile of what a serial killer is.

Ted Bundy was born to an unwed mother who later moved in with her parents and assumed the role of sister to her son. Later on, she fell in love and married Bundy’s stepfather who gave him his last name. The Bundy case is a mystery, since it is unclear if one should consider the denial of maternity to a child, and later on claiming to be child abuse. It, in and of itself, would likely be damaging to a child to find out his sister is really his mother. Bundy’s case falls along the lines of unintentional child abuse. However the cause, Ted Bundy was a very disturbed individual, He was plagued by fears and doubts of himself through grade school, into high school, and on into college.

In contrast to the case of Bundy and Manson is the case of Jeffery Dahmer, born to two parents who loved and wanted him. His childhood was a happy one. He loved animals and did not have a bit of trouble. When he reached the sixth grade, there was a downfall, when he began to fear others. It is unclear even to this day, what turned this happy boy into the monster that we now know existed.

Dahmer went through a gradual change, probably from the tension in the Dahmer home when his parents were constantly fighting, and their divorce threatened and eventually finalized. This situation does not, however, totally explain the almost unbelievable atrocities that Dahmer would eventually commit. This situation would not stick since it is not the norm for children who are from divorced homes to revert to repeated murder. There is some question about Dahmer being mentally ill (and/or criminally insane) because there is no known record of child abuse. Dahmer claimed on different occasions that the devil made him commit the horrific murders that he committed. Other times he would blame no one but himself. Clearly confused to the utmost care of himself, something had caused this person to end up as he had.

Each of these cases tells a tale; they are just three of the most well-known cases of serial murderers, but each of them gives light to why human beings succumb to a longing to kill—and not only to kill, but to kill and kill again. There is, of course, more than the three. However, we will just examine these individuals and hopefully gather an idea of what made these three people turn into cold-blooded murderers. Manson, Bundy, and Dahmer, what is it about them? Three lives, all with different family backgrounds.

Serial killers can have different tastes. Some prey on women, some mutilate the bodies of their victims, and some do other morbid and strange things. Many serial killers leave their calling cards, such as a certain way they will dismember a body, or leave something behind at the crime scene. Some of the characteristics of a serial killer are those who kill more than three people—with a cooling off period in between. The killer is usually a stranger to the victim. They choose people by certain criteria; as was true with Manson, it was upper class white people, Dahmer chose homosexual boys, and Bundy chose women who had the same body type as the girl who dumped him in college. The motive of the crime is not for profit, but for a psychological urge to be filled.

Statistically speaking, a serial killer is usually a white male who comes from a lower to the middle class background, around the ages of 20 to 30. Why are serial killers usually male? There have been just a few serial killers that are female, but this is not the norm. The answer to this is how the difference between men and women. In general, men have more brute strength than women. There could also be an explanation in the way the brains are different in men and women that would link the reason as to why we see that the majority of serial killers are men, and we see very few female serial killers. The hormonal difference in men and women shape the brain and because the male has testosterone, would be an indicator of why males are more physically aggressive than women. In the differences of the brain, males who suffer through abuse could react as adults different from the ways females act.

This could indicate an explanation as to why some abused people go on to be the Bundys and the Dahmers of this world, and some do not. It should be noted that even though there is a vast difference in the male and female brain, and how one adapts to environmental situations, female serial killers have happened. Could abuse be the case that drives a human being to kill? Studies on rain and brain function say yes.

The first thing to look at is the psychological and physical pain of child abuse. Child abuse is the physical and mental harm to a child, either through actions (severe beatings) or verbal abuse (words), as well as through neglect, which is not meeting the needs of the child. These things can leave scarring in a person, well into adulthood.

Childhood abuse could instill in people who have suffered it an instinct to react to situations with violence. Child abuse destroys the bond that should be between parent and child. Some parents think that being hard on a child (far beyond reasonable discipline) would toughen them up. However, it does not do this, it only creates a lack of bond between the person and his/her parents. An interesting note: Studies have shown that parents (primarily mothers) who link sex with death (the type that would try to scare their child to keep them chaste) instill in the child a link with sex and death, and this can create a dual feeling for both.

About the Author

I am Matthew Evans and I want to show people how beautiful and interesting our planet is. I am a business coach, ruby fortune casino review writer, and blogger. In addition, I really like to read new information about psychology. I started to learn about psychology and relationship problems when I was 18 years old. I hope that my knowledge will help me understand people and make their lives better.

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