Psychology Essays – Serial Killers Born

Serial Killers BornSerial Killers: Made Not Born

This study about the early life of a serial killer implicates that it’s the cause of their madness; serial killers are made not born. Further research shows that certain patterns in chronological order occur between these series of cases. Such as physical and mental abuse consumed as a child; growing up, serial killers turn to abusing vulnerable animals to help with their rage. The motive in their adult life comes from repressed anger and uncommon personality traits which lead to criminal deviance. They inflict pain on vulnerable victims that resemble their childhood tormentor.

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Serial Killers: Made Not Born

Ever wonder what drives a person past insanity? Serial killers are made not born; it has been proven that a person’s early years are the most important years. A child’s first few years are a time for trial and error, a time to figure things out for themselves, a time tp put the pieces of the puzzle in place. As an infant, the brain development is dependent on its surroundings. A young child’s brain is like a sponge, it soaks in information through observation.

The surroundings of a serial killer as a toddler can greatly influenced the way he or she will go about his or her life and his or her style of killing. Certain experience, such as child abuse, divorce, alcohol abuse, child neglect, and or drug abuse, can be detrimental to the development of a toddler. Many recent date serial killers were illegitimate children. Because of their upbringing and early life experiences, serial killers turn to psychotic killing rampages.

The term “serial killer” or “serial murderer” means to murder three to four victims through a span of days, weeks, months, or even years with a “cooling period” in between (Castle & Hensley, 2002). The murders are usually unconnected and the killer is a complete stranger to the victims. The motive is psychological and consists of humiliating the victims. Generally the killers are sexual deviants, and perform their sexual fantasies with their victims. They come from broken homes and have a history of being neglected or abused as children. This is the reason why they pray on vulnerable victims such as children, young women, prostitutes, and or adolescents (LaBrode, 2007).

Carroll Cole is the third child out of five; Cole was raised by his mother. Soon after the age of five, his father was called to the service for World War II. Cole experienced many life altering experiences as a child. Soon after his fathers absence, his mother was driven into infidelity, making young Cole dress up in a dress and watch her have sexual relations with other men. Cole was threatened to keep this a secret by his mother, thus forcing him to keep everything inside. As a child, his mother found various ways to humiliate Cole.

As a “special punishment” Cole would have to dress up as a girl and serve his mother and her friends. Cole’s Mother, Vesta Cole, humiliated her young child as well as let the man she was having relationships with physically abuse him. The many experiences that were inflicted against young Cole resulted in hatred towards what would be his future victims, “women in response to his mother’s actions” (Wright & Hensley, 2003 p. 77). His victims were married women that he would casually pick up at the bar. The women being married and cheating on their husband disgusted Cole; because it reminded him of his mother’s actions.

The years of humiliation Cole consumed from his mother soon turned into frustration. Cole’s first victim was the family puppy; he strangled the puppy with the thought of strangling his mother in mind. Serial killers tend to aim for innocent, weaker victims. This helps them restore the confidence they lack within themselves. As young children, they pick on small animals that they have complete control over; this helps them vent their anger and aggression out. As children they indulge in criminal behaviors, such as small petty crimes, but they also have violent fantasies.

As young children, serial killers go through traumatizing events; they do not feel or get the attention a child needs at that age. They are neglected, abused, and live in unstable homes. These children are raised to have no sympathy and feel no guilt; they could be described as shallow since they are raised in a household that teaches them to not feel any emotion. Serial killers are created by prevalent social conditions that lead to psychological malfunctions.

After all the scrutiny, serial killers form different kinds of paraphilias. Paraphilias are sexual deviations or perversions. This includes sexual urges with unusual objects, fantasies, activities, behaviors, or situations, having a sexual urge with non-human objects, sexual behaviors that humiliate or cause another human to suffer, also having sex with children, animals, or non consenting humans.

Exhibitionism, fetishism, frotteurism, pedophilia, masochism, sadism, transvestitism, and voyeurism are all common paraphilias. Males are effect by paraphilias more than females. A paraphilic fantasy tends to begin in late childhood or adolescence and continues throughout adult life. There are usually many occurrences of these fantasies, but usually decrease as people get older. The three common forms of paraphilia fantasies that serial killers endure are sadomasochism, voyeurism, and fetishisms.

Sadomasochism is a common type of paraphilia that a serial killer can be diagnosed with; it consists of sexual gratification when they are inflicting pain, and when they are humiliating the other person. Carroll Edward Cole as a child was forced to watch his mother and her lovers have sexual encounters while his father was away at war. The rage Carroll felt from watching this, along with being humiliated by his mother for years, triggered this paraphilia to a full extent where he would inflict his fantasies on innocent women.

Fetishism is having an excessive regard or attachment; it is a worship or belief in a magical obsession (Knight, 2006). Serial killers are usually diagnosed with this because they have a fetish with the thrill of killing. The power they receive from it. Serial killers, such as Ted Bundy, had a fetishism; his victims tended to resemble his college sweet heart that dumped him and broke his heart; long hair parted in the middle.

Voyeurism is another paraphilia serial killers tend to have; this paraphilia is to obtain sexual gratification by looking at sexual objects secretively. For many serial killers, this means having sex with their victims after they have been dead for a while. This also ties in with an obsession, and usually an erotic interest in or stimulation by a dead body. The fascination with a “corpse” is called necrophilia. Most serial killers are usually sexually motivated serial killers. Narcissism is defined as pathological lack of self-esteem defended against by compensatory grandiosity (Ivey, 1989). Because the of early life care, a human becomes prone to theses needs. Theorists believe that the main problem for serial killers is the up bringing in their early child hood life.

There are two significant tasks that a person who is raising a child should do; these two task are very important for a young child’s psychological development. The first task is to give confidence to the infant’s impulsive gratification. It is imperative that the toddler finds the basis of self-image and self-esteem, the majority of which comes from his or her source of life. Many times serial killers had not developed self- confidence as children.

The second task is to provide support for the child. When a child experiences negative affects, a parent has to be the base, and provide adequate support for the child. This will help teach the child how to cope with painful feelings and situations when they grow older. Also when raising an infant, the role model must establish his or her psychological organizations so as to guide infant in the right direction.

Adults who had been physically, sexually, and emotionally abused as children were three times more likely than were non abused adults to act violently as adults (Dutton & Hart, 1992); this aggression is a big factor in turning men and women into serial killers. The aggression surfaces and culminates in a sequence of atrocious sexual murders as well as fierce and brutal procedures. All of this is to repress the years of defenselessness and degradation the serial killer went through when they were younger. They grow up with a lack of idealization, where they fail to develop an ego, which is usually learned from their father.

Serial killers such as Edmund Emil Kemper and Arthur Shawcross had absent fathers. Edmund Kemper came from an abusive and broken home, his parents divorced when he was 9 years old, and he was left with his mother. “Ed” Kemper had developed an insecure attachment to one of his parents as well as instability in his childhood. The years with his father were discouraged by being abused and observing a broken household.

Not knowing much about each of their fathers; both Edmund and Arthur did not have enough hatred to circulate their killing based on their feeling towards their fathers. Edmund was punished as a child by his mother in bizarre ways. He would be locked in the basement for an extensive period of time. This kind of traumatizing punishment caused Edmund to have a resentful nature towards other people; he also had personal adequacy problems and was very timid. Not having a father figure and never being able to live up to his mother’s expectations caused Edmund to have a lack of respect toward his elders.

Edmund would soon move into his paternal grandparents’ house, and kill them after having many arguments with them. Arthur Shawcross had no significant father figure. As a young child he was surrounded by parental conflict where he was physically abused. Arthur grew up feeling rejected by his family due to all the arguments he had with them and the torment that was inflicted on him.

As for Henry Lucas, his father was over powered by his over dominating mother. Henry’s mother would abuse young Henry and his father. Henry was the youngest out of nine children, and was the “it” child. He was loathed by his mother as an infant; Henry and his father would both be forced to watch her have sexual relations with other men. After his father died, circumstances did not improve for Henry. He would soon feel his mother’s full wrath. Henry would, shortly be introduced to bestiality by his mothers stay at home lover.

This opened new doors for young Henry who, would kill vulnerable animals for his own sexual pleasure. Henry had his first sexual experience at age 13 when is mother’s lover brought a young lady to the house so Henry could have sexual encounters with her. As Henry proceeded to have intercourse with the willing young lady, she made him stop to ejaculation and laugh at him with Bernie, his mother’s boyfriend. This experience only put fuel to Henry’s fire for his feelings towards women. He soon turned his focus on small animals where he would skin them and experiment with different killing styles. His first human victim was a young lady that denied Henry sexual intercourse. After this, the rampage began; a killing spree with at least 69 victims involved, most whom were women, including his mother.

Carroll Cole was raised by a loving family until the age of five when his father was called into the service; his mother changed for the worst. After his father left for the service, his mother started cheating on his father; this brought upon many life altering events. When his father came back, Cole thought his father was less of a man for not being able to catch on to the secret his mother had been threatening Cole to keep. Cole soon lost all respect for his father, and still feared his mother.

Serial killer Aileen Wuornos was abandoned by both her mother and father. Wuornos was adopted by her grandparents; her grandmother was an abusive alcoholic. When Wuornos was a child her grandfather physically and sexually abused her. Wuornos claimed to have had sexual encounters with multiple partners at a young age, this included her older brother. She became pregnant a young age and was disowned by her family and community causing her to disown her child and live on the streets, with prostitution as her source of living.

Wuornos, after a lifetime of miss treatment, directed her anger towards men whom mistreated or took advantage of her both in the past and the present. She is an example of having a broken down/ dysfunctional home. Wuornos never aimed to aggression towards innocent animals as a young child. Wuornos’ killings were sexually motivated and gratifying; these motives were from her childhood up bringing, where she was sexually and physically abused.

Although these individuals did go through many similar situations when they were younger, they all found different ways to deal with their anger and aggression.

The various ways all ended in one way, the death of innocent people. Their upbringings, from infancy to adulthood, are very crucial.

It is argued that many people have been abused or sexually assaulted and have over come these obstacles to live a normal life. But many of these victims did not have inadequate pre-oedipal experiences that strongly contribute to what forms a serial killer.

Oedipal is the stages of development of the psychological aspects of sexuality from birth to adulthood; i.e., oral, anal, genital, and latent periods also referred as psychosexual development of the child, characterized by erotic attachment to the parent of the opposite sex, repressed because of fear of the parent of the same sex; usually occurring between the ages of 3 and 6 years (University of New Castle Upon Tyne, 2007).

The fear these mothers intended to inflict on these children at such a young age, triggered an erotic sickening obsessing with the pleasure they would get from forceful pain inflicting humiliating sexual pleasure with other women. Some such as Edmund Kemper, who had sexual intercourse with his mothers’ corpse, this is what makes a serial killer.

Many of these individuals lack orthopsychiatry; the treatment of childhood psychological problems. This is a cross-disciplinary method of diagnosing, preventing, and treating childhood psychological problems that involves psychiatrists, childhood psychologists, social workers, and pediatricians. The deficient in this is the cause to these maniacs. The lack of care by the parent in these house holds makes these children grow up into monsters.

There are two kinds of serial killers, an organized serial killer and a disorganized serial killer. An organized serial killer is very intelligent; they plot their plans of killing. They usually have a murder weapon, which they bring to commit the deed, and they are careful to leave no evidence behind but do take “souvenirs”. Some may even leave a trade mark, or even, out of the ordinary clues to throw detectives off. Psychopaths are usually organized serial killers.

Psychopaths usually know the difference between right and wrong. A disorganized serial killer, on the other hand, kills whenever an opportunity arises; they are messy, leave clues, such as finger prints, blood, or even semen. Psychotic serial killers tend to be disorganized with their crimes, making it easy for them to be apprehended. These serial killers are usually disconnected from society.

Ted Bundy was considered a psychopath; he suffered from chronic psychological disorders with violent and irregular social behaviors. He was an organized serial killer. He would approach young ladies with brown hair parted in the middle, which resembled his college girlfriend that broke his heart. His arm would be in a sling, as if he was vulnerable, he asked women to help him carry his groceries to his car. Bundy always had a plan before he approached his victim. There was an instance where a victim did get away alive and identified Bundy. This is when he had detectives and news broadcast plotting to catch him, while Bundy was busy studying and figuring out ways so he would get caught.

Psychotic serial killers are usually known to be the most disorganized. Richard Trenton was a psychotic serial killer, thinking that if he drank other people’s blood he would stay alive. He was known as “the vampire of Sacramento”; he suffered from many psychological problems. As a child he was a hypochondriac. He believed that his heart would stop in some cases, thus being the main reason for his victims’ deaths. His disorganization as a serial killer made it easy for him to get caught.

It is argued that serial killers are made up of two major components, nature and nurture; they each have a very profound affect on a human. Nature is the innate abilities of humans, and nurture is what we learn from others in a social situation. Learning plays a big part in the way a person behaves; as does their true personality. The ways serial killers are brought up is affected by both nature and nurture. Jeffery Dahmar is a case of nurture.

He was molested by a male neighbor. His parent’s fought frequently, later divorcing. After his parent’s divorced he was left alone. Neither parent thought to take Dahmar with them when they moved. Abandonment played a huge role in Dahmar’s life. The fear of abandonment was a motive for him to kill others. He killed because of his fear of abandonment, if he killed people they could be with him forever.

Richard Trenton can be another example of a serial killer influenced by nature. He was born seeing all kinds of illusions. Although he did not come from a stable environment he did not experience the oedipal stage in his life. His early life consisted of him setting fires and tormented animals; bed wetting was also a major factor. His father was very strict with discipline, and would bicker with his mother often. Richard was psychologically ill, the lack of help he got from professionals only helped to trigger what would soon be his obsession, which according to him, was a necessity.

Serial killers have the capability to blend in with their surroundings. Serial killers seem utterly normal; nevertheless, beneath the surface lays two uncontrollable qualities: an unbearable need for power and sexual abnormality. Killing satisfies both with the ultimate control over life and death. They feel as if they are playing “GOD” having a person’s life in their hands. Killing gives them a pleasure that is an addiction. Serial killers prey on vulnerable victims; this reflects their childhood. Many of them were vulnerable victims as children, being born into a household where they dealt with physical and mental abuse, making them into what they are, monsters with the capability to blend into society.

Reality is never as good as fantasies; this is why serial killers choose to kill. A wild imagination influenced by over bearing parents that have inflicted a feeling of resentment towards society, followed by feelings of sexual frustration and not being able to be socially accepted brings killing to be a fantasy that is dreamt up from childhood. Serial killers are made and not born. Balled up inside is a memory of dysfunction and feelings of low self esteem, shame, and shortage. This is when the seed of revenge is planted. From an early age serial killers vent their rage, envy, and rejection from an early age towards vulnerable victims such as animals, as they grow out of this stage they turn to vent toward innocent humans that resemble the tormentors of their early life. Pre-oedipal in the household is what differentiates serial killers form other physically abused children; this is the key factor to homicidal rage. Serial killers make their victims feel what they felt as children, hence the patterns of kills from a toddler to an adult. After being de-railed as children, the addiction of control in playing “GOD” in someone else’s life is what drives serial killers into an ultimate power rage.

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