These six killers perfectly illustrate how narcissism and murder go hand in hand.
Narcissism has become a staple of mainstream media in the last several years. Narcissistic Personality Disorder was officially recognized in 1980 when it was added to the DSM-5. The disorder quickly made its way into mainstream media stories, examining people who manipulate and gaslight those around them to achieve their criminal aspirations.
According to the DSM-5, in order to be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a person must display at least five of the established traits of narcissism. The nine traits of narcissism include:
Not all narcissists become killers but there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that many killers, particularly serial killers, exhibit many of these narcissistic personality traits. The killers in this list each display at least five and, in some cases, all of them. They also provide the perfect example of a murderer who embodies specific traits from the list. more
On August 10, 1977, 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz is arrested and charged with being the “Son of Sam,” the serial killer who terrorized New York City for more than a year, killing six young people and wounding seven others with a .44-caliber revolver. Because Berkowitz generally targeted attractive young women with long brown hair, hundreds of young women had their hair cut short and dyed blonde during the time he terrorized the city. Thousands more simply stayed home at night.
After his arrest, Berkowitz claimed that demons and a black Labrador retriever owned by a neighbor named Sam had ordered him to commit the killings.
David Berkowitz was brought up by adoptive parents in the Bronx. He was traumatized by the death of his adoptive mother from cancer in 1967 and thereafter became more and more of a loner. In 1971, he joined the army and served for three years, where he distinguished himself as a talented marksman. In 1974, he returned to New York and worked as a security guard. His mental condition began to severely deteriorate in 1975 (he would later be diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic).
Feeling isolated from the world around him, he became an arsonist and set hundreds of fires in New York City without being arrested. He began to hear voices of “demons” that tormented him and told him to commit murder. On Christmas Eve, 1975, he gave into these internal voices and severely wounded 15-year-old Michelle Forman with a hunting knife. more
Some would say nineteenth century Jack the Ripper is synonymous with James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooter. Both are murderers, right? However, these two killers fall into two completely different categories of murderers. Jack the Ripper, an unidentified person, infamous for murdering several women in the slums of nineteenth century London, is a serial killer. James Holmes shot and killed twelve people and injured fifty-eight others at a Colorado movie theater, making him a mass murderer. The numbers and timing are important factors.
A serial killer is conventionally defined as a person who murders three or more people in a period of over a month, with “cooling down” time between murders. For a serial killer, the murders must be separate events, which are most often driven by a psychological thrill or pleasure. Serial killers often lack empathy and guilt, and most often become egocentric individuals; these characteristics classify certain serial killers as psychopaths. Serial killers often employ a “mask of sanity” to hide their true psychopathic tendencies and appear normal, even charming. The most notable example of a charming serial killer is Ted Bundy, who would fake an injury to appear harmless to his victims. Ted Bundy is classified as an organized serial killer; he methodically planned out his murder and generally stalked his victim for several weeks before committing the crime. He committed an estimated thirty murders from 1974-1978 before his eventual capture. Serial killers such as Ted Bundy are known to be organized and psychologically motivated to commit murder, which separates them from mass murderers who appear to kill randomly at one time. more
Somatic symptom disorder is diagnosed when a person has a significant focus on physical symptoms, such as pain, weakness or shortness of breath, to a level that results in major distress and/or problems functioning. The individual has excessive thoughts, feelings and behaviors relating to the physical symptoms. The physical symptoms may or may not be associated with a diagnosed medical condition, but the person is experiencing symptoms and believes they are sick (that is, not faking the illness).
A person is not diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder solely because a medical cause can’t be identified for a physical symptom. The emphasis is on the extent to which the thoughts, feelings and behaviors related to the illness are excessive or out of proportion.
People with somatic symptom disorder typically go to a primary care physician rather than a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. Individuals with somatic symptom disorder may experience difficulty accepting that their concerns about their symptoms are excessive. They may continue to be fearful and worried even when they are shown evidence that they do not have a serious condition. Some people have only pain as their dominant symptom. Somatic symptom disorder usually begins by age 30. more
When it comes to serial killers, the United States leads the way, and the race isn’t even close. Not only did the US write the book on serial killers there are also about a billion books covering the more than 3,000 serial killers from the US.
Names like Bundy, Dahmer, Manson, Gacy, Ramirez, and Gein still haunt dreams and have been etched in history as the world’s most heinous of killers. The US doesn’t monopolize the market on serial killers, however, as other countries have their own diabolical personas.
Running a distant second is England, but that doesn’t mean that England hasn’t been home to some of history’s most terrifying serial killers, because it has. First and foremost, and arguably the most famous killer of all time, was Jack the Ripper. Even his tales for horror, however, must pale in comparison to the reported 400 victims claimed by Amelia Dyer.
Yes, England has had its share of serial killers, including other names such as Sutcliffe, Fred and Rosemary West, and Mary Ann Cotton, to name a deadly few.