Essay: Jeffrey Dahmer

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  • Subject area(s): Philosophy essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published on: January 22, 2019
  • File format: Text
  • Number of pages: 2
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Serial killers have boggled the minds of humans for centuries. Thousands of movies and documentaries are available to watch about notorious serial killers, including one of the most famous, Jeffrey Dahmer. Have you ever thought about what truly caused his behavior? What caused him to murder 17 innocent people? Jeffrey Dahmer could have begun to kill because of psychopathic tendencies and attachment issues.
 
Psychological theories of crime have been around for many decades. These theories are based off of two ideas: personality and behavior. Psychological theories on crime often state that the person committing the crime has an abnormal personality, meaning that they may have personality disturbances or problems with the mind. As this theory was studied, psychologists focused on mental disease, personality disorders, and psychopathy. According to “Criminology” written by Frank Schmalleger, psychopathology “refers to any sort of psychological disorder that causes distress either for the individual or for those in the individual’s life.” Some examples of this are ADHD, schizophrenia, and depression.

Psychological theories also came up with the term psychopath. A psychopath is a person who lacks empathy and sympathy for others. Since the discovery of this term, it has been classified further to primary and secondary psychopaths. A primary psychopath has neurological differences from most people, and a secondary psychopath was born completely normal, but something in their life caused them to change. Psychological theories found a lot of information regarding the mind and how it can cause people to commit crime.

The attachment theory is completely different from the early psychological theories. While the psychological theories focus on personality, the attachment theory focuses on the relationship with a mother. This theory states that maladjusted behavior occurs in children who lacked a solid relationship with a mother figure. The three forms of attachment are secure, anxious-avoidant, and anxious-resistant. Secure is shown by children who feel protected by their caregivers and know that they will always return to them. Anxious-avoidant is described as a person who feels slightly uncomfortable with the idea of a close relationship, so they separate themselves from people. Anxious-resistant people do not trust strangers and cling to their own caregiver for protection.

Both of these theories are shown throughout Jeffrey Dahmer’s life. Dahmer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to the parents Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. His family life was anything but ideal. Dahmer’s mother suffered from anxiety and even had a history of drug abuse. Dahmer’s father constantly argued with his mom, and everybody seemed to ignore her mental issues. His father and mother split up when he was 18 years old, and on the day of his graduation, his mom abandoned him in his childhood home.

Throughout his teenage years Dahmer seemed to detach from people, keeping to himself and rarely hanging out with other classmates. He spent a large amount of time collecting road kill and putting the corpses in acid, so he could watch them decompose. Bones and the decomposition of bodies always fascinated Dahmer. Biography.com states that Dahmer started fantasizing about necrophilia and murder around the age of 14 (Childhood par. 6). Dahmer always pushed those thoughts and feelings away, until he finally gave into his desires.

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