Psychology Of Real-Life Serial Killer “Jeffrey Dahmer,” Explained – A Racist Murderer Or A Psychotic Victim?

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Among the plethora of American serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most heinous monsters of the late 80s. Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan have created a captivating thriller about him in the most gore and gruesome way possible. The series “Dahmer” plays in accordance with the long-standing image of the character. It slowly burns with the killer’s mental turmoil and ends up showing the justice that he deserves. All studies on Dahmer have been done to explain his psychopathy. But experts are still not able to understand his behavioral patterns in its entirety. So, let’s find out what’s inside this wrecked psyche that the makers have tried to portray in their latest thriller show.

Trigger Warning


The Predatory Grip: How Did He Use His Charm To Attract His Victims?

A sepia-toned filter does instill a strong feeling of eeriness. The matchbox apartment adds onto that feeling, where the neighbor, Glenda Cleveland, is complaining about the rotten smell coming from her vent. The reason for that foul odor is Jeffrey Dahmer who is in the apartment next to her, chopping someone’s body and indulging in all sorts of grotesque acts. As soon as you get a glimpse of the room, the dim yellow light and provocative possessions inform us about the gruesome crimes that Dahmer had committed. Nevertheless, Jeff goes about his business unbothered. He walks away steadily without moving his hands, like a man on a mission. There’s a gay bar in Milwaukee where he hunts for his victims. He often succeeds in wooing some of the black gay people there. Dahmer’s speech is incoherent, and his appearance is that of a drunken man with dizzy eyes and slurred speech. He often camouflages his ghastly intentions with an innocent smile. One of the victims, Tracy Edward, arrives at his apartment, falling for Jeff’s “another drink” trap. As soon as Edward steps into Jeffrey’s apartment, he realizes that his death is imminent.

Jeffrey Dahmer’s room, which is a personification of hell itself, is filled with the smell of rotting flesh. As Edward tries to leave the room, Jeff asks him why everyone wants to leave him. And there, we stop, eager to find out the deep-rooted secret of this demonic mentality. His room contains a machine gun driller, a satanic bible, and a television set that only shows Jeff his favorite movie, “The Exorcist 3.” When Edward panics, Jeff threatens him with a knife, saying that he only wants to take his steamy picture. However, nothing goes as per Jeffrey’s plan and Edward struggles out of the room, saving himself from his trap. When the police arrived and searched the apartment, the world was made aware of the heinous crimes committed by Jeffrey Dahmer. Jeff mutters that he should be executed for what he did. However, it’s difficult to tell if this is a sign of his repentance or merely his attention-seeking tendencies.


Who Is Jeffrey Dahmer? What Might Be The Cause of His Evil Activities?

Jeffrey Dahmer is a terrifying cannibalistic serial killer whose human form hides a demonic soul. He was arrested on July 22, 1991, for murdering a total of 17 youths. One by one, the body parts of his buried victims were found in his apartment, suggesting that Dahmer not only killed them but also kept their corpses to himself and conducted various experiments on them. Sometimes, he even ate those corpses. During the interrogation, he confessed how he had hunted down his victims and drugged them to death bit by bit. But Jeff makes it clear that he felt a compulsion during the murders—not that he wanted to kill them—but to keep them forever. He even made it clear that he did not commit these attacks out of anger or hatred toward any race. Throughout the interrogation process, Jeff barely made any eye contact. We see him, in a solemn manner, confessing one crime after another. He admitted all guilt willingly, which distinguishes him from the other killers. Jeff presented himself as a simple example of repentance and failure, which instantly drives us to see him as a victim of long-term psychosis. Therefore, we are eager to find the root cause of it.


Poor Parenting: What Was Dahmer’s Childhood Like?

Jeffrey Dahmer is a well-researched and studied serial killer in criminal psychology. What kind of mental disorder he was actually suffering from has not yet been found, but if we look at his character traits, behavior, and history, all the signs of a psychological disorder are clearly visible. After Dahmer’s arrest, his father, Lionel Dahmer, was subpoenaed for investigation. Although he is utterly shocked by his son’s actions, he questions whether it was bad parenting that led to his son’s abnormality.

Dahmer’s parents, Lionel and Joyce, shared a toxic relationship. Instead of a healthy milieu, Dahmer witnessed intense arguments, fights, and even threats of his mother showing up with knives. Since then, the disgust inside him has started to increase. In the meantime, Lionel spent quality time with him. He taught him to pick up dead animals from the street. Jeff learns how to dissect the ‘roadkills’ and then dissolve them into acid. From a young age, Jeff was attracted to flesh, blood, and guts, which gradually turned into an obsession. As he got older, he turned into an introverted child. He could not date or make friends. However, he had always had an attention-seeking attitude. He pretended to have a seizure, much to the entertainment of the entire class. Later, he became the weirdest student in the class. Other classmates used to call him “Doing a Dahmer.”

Lionel is a gentleman who can very well blend into society, but problems arise with Joyce. Joyce abused drugs during her pregnancy, which caused her to suffer from prolonged postpartum depression. She was completely ignored by her husband during this crucial time. Thus, the ignorance made her furious and forced her to take out all her anger on her domestic life. When they eventually divorced, Joyce completely neglected her older son, Jeff, and took away her younger son, David. This incident traumatized Jeff at a very young age. He somehow completed his graduation while living all alone in his parents’ house in Ohio. His father never paid him a visit and the traumatic experiences cumulatively had an adverse impact on his personality.


The First Kill: Was It Intentional?

Dahmer became lonely and drowned himself in alcohol, as there was no one else present with whom he could share his life with. After many failed attempts, Jeff could not even reveal his sexuality. The first reason was the homophobic society at that time, and the second was his suppressed mental state. Jeff was never attracted to the opposite gender, so it became tough for him to meet his physical needs. In this situation, his first encounter was with a hitchhiker named Steven Hicks. Jeff brought Hicks home in order to get intimate with him, but Hicks made it clear that he was not into men. As Hicks tried to leave the house, Jeff killed him by throwing a dumbbell at him. Jeff realized his mistake right after the murder, but instead of making amends, he started doing experiments on the body, like he did with those “roadkills.” It was evident at that point that blood and flesh sort of aroused him. However, he attempted to change his habits later on, but in US army training, he even drugged and raped a fellow soldier. His psyche became infected by the venom of his depravity. After being discharged from the Army, he took refuge at his grandmother’s home. He took young gay guys to the hotel to make out with them. He drugged both himself and those men and used to kill them without any remorse. He never attempted to fix it; instead, he chopped off the head and kissed it. Even worse, Dahmer invited the young men to his grandmother’s house, where he repeated the same actions. In order to slice up the bodies and keep them in acid, he built himself a cellar. The stench alarmed the grandma as well, but Jeff’s instability and diabolical traits gradually made him forget about the surroundings. Even with Granny in the next room, he kept harassing innocent people, who were mostly people of color.


See More: ‘Dahmer-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’ Ending, Explained – What Happened To The Milwaukee Monster?


From Splanchnophilic To A Vile Superhero: How Did Dahmer’s Chapter Close?

When Dahmer’s psychology was further scrutinized after his arrest, several medical professionals came to the conclusion that he had splanchnophilia, a condition in which a person feels attracted to human organs and flesh. On the other hand, he frequently uses the phrase “compulsion” in interviews. He insisted time and time again that he was driven by a desire to kill people. His urge overpowered him, despite being arrested for assaulting a Laotian teenager at his grandmother’s home. Following his release, he moved to Oxford Apartments in Milwaukee. There he met Tony, a young model who was deaf and mute. He tried to drug Tony several times but stopped himself. Eventually, he killed him and froze his severed brain in an effort to preserve him eternally. Therefore, love and friendship lost to this destructive compulsion of his mind. He repeatedly hunted his victims in the same manner, over and over. A fourteen-year-old boy tried to escape his clutches, but the flawed legal system had put him again into the hands of the devil, who brutally murdered him.

Tracy Edward was the only one who survived his capture. However, Dahmer was convicted in Wisconsin, where they didn’t have the death penalty, because of which he was sent to Colombia’s correctional prison instead of being executed for his crimes. Gradually, the mask that covered his repentant and anguished self, started to come off. Letters and money were sent to the imprisoned Dahmer by certain depraved individuals regarded as his “fans.” They sent him the comics about Dahmer that portray him as a “superhero.” Dahmer gradually started to believe that he was invincible, bragging about his fan base and demeaning other inmates in the prison. The relatives of the victims were counting down the days until Dahmer’s execution. Meanwhile, Lionel continued to market his book by having interviews with his son. Dahmer has always lived in the shadows, so receiving praise from fans while imprisoned is an exquisite experience for him. However, he believed baptism would relieve him of all his sins. His baptism really started in jail, when he washed away his 17 murders by simply drowning in a tub of water. Nevertheless, Scarver, a prisoner who considered vengeance as justice, murdered Jeffrey. The horrifying chapter of Jeffrey Dahmer came to an end when Scarver finally put him to death, just as Dahmer had killed his victims in cold blood.


Dahmer’s Story: How Does Dahmer Emerge From The Undiagnosed Into Psychiatric Comorbidity?

According to the psychiatrist, Jeffrey was a healthy and conscious individual who only exhibited outward symptoms. Furthermore, there have been discussions about him having multiple disorders, though they haven’t been able to come to any firm conclusions. Dahmer stated that he never heard a voice in his head, but instead, there was a compulsion to do what he did. But it can’t really be called OCD because OCD doesn’t make people commit such evil acts. Although Jeffrey never said anything about intrusion, it could be a case of intrusive thoughts as well. Jeffrey is hard to describe because of his superficial charm and manipulative ways, though his lack of awareness and desire to be alone can be linked to psychosis.

In fact, not letting anyone escape his captivity and keeping their existence to himself makes him paranoid. This forces his compulsion to take over his conscience more often. The diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia has led many psychoanalysts to define Dahmer. But none are clinically documented. Various examples of necrophilia may be found throughout his work. In one instance, he even dug a grave to spend the night with the deceased after seeing his beautiful face in the newspaper. His fixation on the dead is shocking in this situation. However, in my opinion, what other psychologists also think is that Dahmer could not open up his physical needs, which exploded inside. Dahmer believed that everyone wanted to leave him, which became more apparent to him after his parents’ terrible separation. As a result of the loss of his loved ones, his bodily demands were pent up in his mind, and these outbursts occurred when someone tried to leave him alone. In addition, his splanchnophilia took control, leading him to believe that by eating the victims’ hearts, they would be kept forever.

However, the events after his arrest seem to be justified in the series. After getting letters from fans, Dahmer turned into a terrible torturer of other black inmates. This explains a lot why the majority of his victims were from the black community. Finally, as soon as Dahmer learned that serial killer John Gacy had been executed, he demanded to be initiated into the Christian faith. It becomes more evident that he was just seeking God out of a fear of death. On November 28, 1994, Scarver killed Dahmer in a brutal way, putting an end to his notoriously crazy life.

In Murphy’s most recent biopic-series, Evan Peters is astonishing in the character of Dahmer. Despite the fact that the series makes you privy to the darkest sides of the characters, you won’t be able to look away because of their outstanding performances. For once, Niecy Nash, Richard Jenkins, and others won’t make you feel unreal in this series. In this case, the series’ presentation is very pragmatic. Sometimes the terror is ten times more terrifying than in any average horror film, maybe because it is so realistic. But what could be more frightening than reality itself?


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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami is an artist and an aspiring screenwriter both by profession and passion. Apart from writing stories, poems and songs, studying cinema is her obsession. She is also a freelance painter yet it is the world of cinema that fascinates her the most.

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