Psychopathology of Serial Murderers

The primary problem with almost all serial killers is simply ASPD, Antisocial Personality Disorder, (derived) sociopathy or (primary) psychopathy. It is present in almost 100% of such cases. Most everything else is rather secondary to this primary character disorder, which is the most prominent symptom.

Very rare is the serial killer without this disorder, although there have been a few. I remember a long-distance trucker who turned himself when he walked into a Northern California police station with a woman’s breast in his top shirt pocket. He had camped out in forests while trucking and had picked up women and killed them. He kept the body of one in the truck for three or four days and drove around with it.

Experts said he was quite unusual in that they said he actually felt bad about what he had done. I wonder how bad he really felt though. You could not get me to drive around in a truck with a dead woman in the back for very long. I would go into severe panic pretty fast, stop the truck, and get out, and start walking or probably running away.

I would not be able to walk around with a woman’s breast in my shirt for long either. I would completely panic almost right away, take the shirt off, throw it on the ground, and start running. But then I am a pretty guilty type person with a strong conscience.

Based on that, while I am sure he may have felt some guilt for his killings, the fact that he was able to drive around in a truck with a dead woman in the back for 3-4 days shows without completely flipping out shows to me that he didn’t feel that much guilt, certainly not on the level that most of us would.

And the fact that he could rather calmly walk into a police station with a cut-off breast in his pocket without flying into total panic shows to me that he didn’t feel that bad about it. So guilt, even when it is present, is not as strong as in most of us, otherwise they would not have even done such horrible things in the first place.

Sexual sadism is also often present, and I have heard that Sadistic Personality Disorder is very common. Juvenile delinquency, voyeurism, exhibitionism, burglary, prowling, petty thievery, etc. typically precede the serial killings. When the serial killer starts killing, he usually has a fairly long rap sheet of more minor offenses. The murders are best seen as an escalation of a chronic criminal character type.

The ones who kill children are typically though not always preferential or fixated pedophiles. Certainly the ones who kill only children are preferential pedophiles. There is a type of pedophile called a mysoped, which is a sadistic pedophile. They are not very common. I doubt if 5% of pedophiles are like this, but these people are very dangerous. Probably almost all serial child killers are mysopeds, and these crimes often have a sexual basis.

95% of rapists are the type that rarely if ever go serial, but the sadistic rapist, composed of no more than 5% of rapists, is very dangerous. Most if not all rapist serial killers are sadistic rapists.

The rage rapist is dangerous, but he generally does not intend to kill his victim although he assaults her. If she fights back or gets difficult, he can fly into a rage and beat her so badly that she dies, but again he usually does not intend to kill. I doubt if these types go serial much if at all. Serial killers intend to kill; rage rapists do not.

Malignant narcissism, the disorder, believe it or not, of our wonderful President, is also present sometimes. Ted Bundy was a malignant narcissist. Yes, our wonderful President has the same mental illness as Ted Bundy! Comforting thought.

A few have Schizoid Personality Disorder, and some of the more disturbed ones have Borderline Personality Disorder.

Schizotypal, Paranoid, and Narcissistic Personality Disorders are rarely if ever seen in serial killers. Schizotypals are probably too disorganized and decompensated and just out and out strange to commit such crimes. The serial killer must blend in, and schizotypals do not do that. A few schizotypals have committed mass murders. James Holmes the Aurora Batman Theater Shooter, was a notable case. But note that he was caught immediately.

Paranoid PD is rarely if ever seen. These people tend to be rather retiring and like to hide away from a hostile world. They also do not like to call attention to themselves from a hostile world. They are suspicious and distrustful by nature, and this makes it hard for them to blend in well with ordinary society as serial killers often do.

Narcissists are usually too self-centered to kill. While narcissists are often very mean, the disorder is usually well-controlled in that the rage rarely escalates to homicide. There have been a few cases of NPD’s committing mass murder, usually of their families. The case of Jeffrey MacDonald, the mass murdering physician of Fatal Vision, seems to be such a case. This is a superb true crime book by the way.

Also narcissists think that if they kill, they will get caught, and if they are in prison or jail they will not be able to live this wonderful life they are supposed to be killing. They are “too cool to kill.”

Killing would mess up all their wonderful plans to exploit others and hold them up to contempt by millions of people, which the narcissist would have a hard time taking. The narcissist is “too good for prison.” Prison would be such a crushing blow to their self-image that it would very hard to take.

However, malignant narcissists can be very dangerous because this is a combination of psychopathy, sadism, Paranoid PD and Narcissistic PD. When you weaponize NPD with paranoia, sadism and particularly psychopathy, you create a dangerous illness.

Cluster C Personality Disorders like Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder, Self-Defeating Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder are rarely if ever present in these types. These are PD’s where aggression is mostly displayed passively, and serial killers display aggression actively, not passively.

Mood disorders do not seem to be common. Bipolar Disorder is not common, and serial killers are rarely if ever depressed. They displace guilt and loathing outwards instead of pushing it inside of themselves as depressives do.

Depressives are passive, and depression acts as sort of a freezing agent in that it tends to immobilize people by its nature.

Men in general tend to either experience less depression than women or mask it with other things such as anger and rage, drinking, drugs, gambling, promiscuity, or even workaholism. It is simply not acceptable as a man to be depressed, so depressed men simply channel their depression into other things and say they are not depressed, they are just drunks or workaholics, for instance.

Substance and alcohol abuse issues are quite common with serial killers, but the better ones are more sober, as drinkers and dopers tend to be scattered and unreliable, and serial killers must be on the ball  24-7.

Only a few are psychotic. 2% of serial killers are psychotic. Psychotic people can barely organize a trip to the bathroom. How are they going to plot out elaborate and professional serial homicides?

They are motivated by many things, but your typical rape-murders or murders of attractive young women almost always have a sexual component. I would call these serial killings lust murders. The Germans coined the term.

Even among the lust-murders, there are a number of different types. Some are motivated by purely sexual desires, others get off specifically on killing and the power gained from it, others are hunter types who get pleasure from the hunt and chase as if they were hunting an animal, which they are of course, but when we refer to hunters, we are always talking about hunters of non-human animals.

5 thoughts on “Psychopathology of Serial Murderers”

  1. Mr. Lindsey
    One thing about all psychopathic serial killers who are male is a crushing sex drive.
    That nice fellow from Milwaukee who looked like a German professional tennis player, Dahmer, had to have sex 5 times a day with the cadavers. It seems positively distasteful that a man would have such a need to get his freak on that he bring his decapitated head to his job at the chocolate factory so he could perform oral sex with it on his lunch break but Dahmer did so.
    DeSalvo was another sex maniac who would masturbate up to 10 times a day.
    Narcissists do not have a strong sex drive. Its actually kind of weak. They are chronic masturbation addicts or use prostitutes for quick, trivial, impersonal episodes of self-gratification but material things and status, not sex, are their driving force.
    I cannot really speak for female psychopaths. I do not know what motivates them. They seem to get their rocks off poisoning husbands or babies in their nursing job so the gender psychology for female serial killers is different it seems.

  2. Obscure Sexual Gratification
    We all remember the trucker in California who chopped off the teen hitchhiker’s arms and left her in a ditch. He later assaulted another woman in his 60’s when released on parole in the 1990’s.
    But what is interesting is the obscurity of the source of sexual gratification.
    How does a man orgasm from cutting a woman’s arms off while her clothes are still on?
    Dahmer would often perform oral sex on the dead decapitated cadavers.
    How can any man obtain an orgasm from blowing the cadaver of man he killed.
    I’ve lost my erection with females when their breath was bad.
    How high does a man’s sexual drive have to be that in addition to sodomizing the cadaver of the black male he killed, he has to take a decapitated head to work as a masturbation device?
    Dahmer was jerking off or having sex with his victim’s bodies 5 times a day.
    So in addition to the enormous sex drive that male psychopaths seem to have their source of gratification is very obscure.

  3. How do we decode the psychopathology of serial killers? Explanations about aberrant brain wiring or whatever aren’t satisfying. There’s something demonic going on. I know it. Creepy stuff.

    Hypothetical lust-killer:

    As a kid I took this doll my Sis owned. It was this plastic/foam 2 foot tall battery operated deal that played friendly greetings and comments. When she was off at high school one day, I snagged it. Being handy, I fashioned a love box in the doll’s crotch. I often humped it until it was raw, then I’d erupt with a stream of pee. My carpet smelled awful.

    I also reveled in smashing squirrels to pieces with large rocks. Mom thought I was nuts. Dad hit me a lot. Later on I got into cannibalism and ate my Mom and Sis. I keep their heads nearby to get my rocks off in their mouths on occasion. I guess it was just my wiring. That’s what the docs say!

    Yep. And total crap. Nobody wants to hear that. Tell me something juicy. I want juicy details, please! I like that TV show The Passage. How those bloodthirsty vampires are only a thin pane of glass away from ripping those doctors apart. Imagine getting that close and personal to such a creature. Science needs to study more serial killers so we can get closer to the truth. The topic needs more focus.

    1. I agree with this comment for the most part and you are correct. Thing is, we have been studying these guys for a long time. I think we can study them more though, as they are fascinating, and we obviously haven’t gotten to the bottom of what they are really all about yet.

      I have been studying psychopaths for many years now, and I swear to God, I still don’t truly understand them. I mean do I understand them as in comprehend what they do? Sure. Understand them as in I can get inside their heads, imagine what it is like to be them, and pretend to think and feel as they do? Not possible. I’ve been trying to for decades, and all I do is fail.

      I hate to say it but probably the only way you can truly understand these maniacs is to be one of them. And then, of course, you will have no interest in looking inside of yourself, as you will think there is nothing wrong with you! In other words, Catch-22.

  4. Honestly, lol – they need to get out of their mom’s basement. Get a life! Learn play an instrument or something. I mean, to truly get good – you need hours of practice. Anyway, the point being they spend way too much time in “sick hobbies”.

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