Jeffrey Dahmer: Characteristics and Psychology of a Serial Killer | 2024 (2024)

Nicknamed the “Milwaukee cannibal” for dismembering his victims and keeping their remains in a freezer to later consume them, his actions have been the focus of various psychiatric studies.

But its history has also given rise to books, films and television series that seek to understand how the mind of Dahmer, this bloodthirsty serial killer, worked An example of this is that just a few weeks ago Netflix released Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Storya miniseries that tells us the life and crimes of this murderer, author of the murder of seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991.

Table of Contents

The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was born in Milwaukee on May 21, 1960 into a dysfunctional middle-class family Her mother suffered from depression, taking a lot of medications during pregnancy. In addition to being committed to a psychiatric hospital, she attempted suicide when Dahmer was just a child. It is known that his parents argued constantly and very aggressively.

According to what the father said in some interviews, his son was a very curious child. Around age 10, he began collecting roadkill to study its internal anatomy, and collecting its bones. Over time, Dahmer became increasingly shy and introverted. His father felt that his son was not comfortable in the company of other people. During his adolescence, his classmates considered him strange, extravagant and an alcoholic.

In later interviews, Dahmer revealed that at that time he discovered his sexual orientation, but that his sexual fantasies were mixed with others in which he killed and dismembered his partners. In an interview, Dahmer related that At 14 or 15 years old he began to think obsessively about sex interspersed with violence and that these ideas became increasingly obsessive and disturbing.

Dahmer mentioned that one of his fantasies involved “lying next to an unconscious man” and that he found a way to forget these thoughts in alcohol.

Shortly before he turned eighteen, his parents decided to divorce. His father left the house and his mother stayed with him, although after a while she also left his house, taking his younger brother with her. However, his father tried to help him by encouraging him to attend college, so in 1978 Jeffrey entered Ohio State University, only to drop out shortly after due to his problems with alcohol. A year later, his father convinced him again to join the army, but his alcoholism again caused him to be discharged in a short time

You may be interested: Carl Tanzler's Famous and Macabre Case of Necrophilia

What were Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes?

For serial killers, it is common to select a specific group of individuals towards whom their crimes are directed; this selection is usually based on aspects such as the ethnicity, age or gender of the victims. In the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, He selected young men whom he considered physically attractive

His method or modus operandi consisted of seducing his victims sexually and then inviting them to his house to carry out the meeting. Sometimes he also offered money in exchange for victims coming to his residence for a photo session. Once there, he sedated, beat and strangled them until they were unconscious.

Dahmer’s first murder occurred when he was already 18 years old During the period when she was alone at his family residence, she picked up a man named Steven Hicks on the highway, whom he then drove to his home. There, both used substances and drank alcohol. However, when Steven tried to leave the home, Jeffrey stopped him by hitting him with an exercise bar. Shortly afterward he mutilated Hicks’ body and disposed of it.

Eight years later, Jeffrey would commit a second murder in the hotel room. He had previously met the victim, Steven Toumi, at a nearby bar. Using sleeping pills to render him unconscious, Dahmer came across Steven’s lifeless body the next morning. In this crime, Jeffrey claimed not to remember well what happened that night. He later dismembered the body and kept the skull as a souvenir.

From 1988 to 1991, Jeffrey committed the next fifteen murders of his career as a serial killer, beginning with two in 1988, one in 1989, four in 1990, and eight in 1991, when he was finally arrested after several reports to police that a neighbor made about the putrid smell emanating from her house.

You may be interested: How to Identify Vicarious Violence in the Family Nucleus?

Dahmer used to keep objects and body parts of his victims as trophies, and in several interviews he admitted to having masturbat*d while remembering the murders. In addition to confessing to having eaten the body parts of his victims “to feel that they were part of him.”

His capture

In July of the year 1991, Tracy Edwards, who was held hostage in Dahmer’s apartment and was destined to be his next victim, managed to escape and stop a police car that was patrolling nearby. When the police searched the apartment, they could not have imagined the magnitude of the horror they would find.

They found photographs of eviscerations and human remains of eleven people. Jeffrey Dahmer hid heads in the refrigerator, organs in the freezer, skulls in closets, blood on the walls and a 215-liter drum of acid and three decomposing human torsos. This discovery had a great impact on American society.

In 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer, also nicknamed “the Butcher of Milwaukee,” was sentenced to 16 life sentences and sent to Columbia Prison (Wisconsin), where he turned to the church to “atone” for his sins. During his short stay, received countless letters from fans across the country, sometimes along with money. She also gave various interviews to the media to recount his experience, in some of which his father was present.

In November 1994, Jeffrey met his end violently, when another inmate also serving time for murder attacked him with a barbell to death.

The Psychology of Jeffrey Dahmer

Interest in serial killers has always been great among the public and experts in the human mind, due to the severity and cruelty of their crimes. In Dahmer’s case, psychological studies have revealed similarities between him and other serial killers, as well as some variations on different patterns. However, a common characteristic in these individuals is that their main motivation is based on the psychological gratification obtained by committing their crimes. Some of the elements commonly observed in serial killers are:

You may be interested: The 4 Phases of Forensic Psychological Expertise (and Their Characteristics)

1. Lack of empathy

Serial killers are known for their lack of compassion and empathy towards their victims Instead of feeling pity or sympathy for the affected person, they find pleasure and gratification in committing their crimes. “Many of these individuals are considered psychopaths and have a distorted view of reality.”

2. Vulnerable victims

Serial killers often target victims they perceive as weak or submissive, as this allows them to be in control and power over them at all times.

3. Adverse childhood

A large number of serial killers have had traumatic experiences during their childhood, such as coming from dysfunctional families, they have suffered abandonment, lack of love and even abuse. This characteristic helps explain his lack of empathy and their focus on themselves.

4. Appearance of normality

Often, serial killers do not display any strange behavior in public in order to avoid suspicion and go unnoticed, so they can commit murders for years without attracting attention or even being suspected of a crime.

5. Manipulative and even seductive

The serial killers They tend to have great ability to manipulate and seduce others This allows them to easily approach their victims without anyone noticing the danger. It is common for them to establish relationships, but these are usually temporary and superficial.

Two main types of serial killers

On the other hand, According to some FBI studies, serial killers can be classified into two main categories: organized and disorganized The organized ones usually have a high IQ, they carefully plan their crimes and it can take years to commit a homicide.

They often act out of spite or due to mental disorders, and often kidnap their victims after having gained their trust. The disorganized, on the other hand, have a low or average IQ and commit their crimes impulsively, killing when the opportunity presents itself and without carefully planning. They are often antisocial and have mental problems. FBI studies indicate that many serial killers show aspects of both types, although the characteristics of one type usually predominate.

Jeffrey Dahmer: Characteristics and Psychology of a Serial Killer | 2024 (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg Kuvalis

Last Updated:

Views: 6244

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg Kuvalis

Birthday: 1996-12-20

Address: 53157 Trantow Inlet, Townemouth, FL 92564-0267

Phone: +68218650356656

Job: IT Representative

Hobby: Knitting, Amateur radio, Skiing, Running, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Electronics

Introduction: My name is Greg Kuvalis, I am a witty, spotless, beautiful, charming, delightful, thankful, beautiful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.