Serial Killers: Intimacy of Dead Bodies (with Melissa Rondeau, LMHC, MBA)

Uploaded 1/24/2024, approx. 55 minute read

I think I'm recording. I hope I'm recording. Okay. Not to miss these words for posterity and so on.

Yeah, they have a pro-grandiosity. Trying to figure out all this technology on my end too.

Okay. So hello to everyone who is listening and watching. I have an extra special guest today, Professor Sam Vachman, who was talking about one of the most fascinating subjects that I could possibly think of.

And that is the topic of serial killers. As a therapist, I work with people who I'm helping to heal from trauma. And so because of that, some of that trauma is caused by people with darker minds and violent crime.

So I will allow you to please introduce yourself and then we'll get into the topic.

Well, I propose serial killers. My name is Sam Vachman and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, which I see behind you. And I'm a former visiting professor of psychology and university. And I'm currently on the faculty of CEOPS, which is the Center for International Advanced Professional Studies in Cambridge, United Kingdom, Toronto, Canada. And there's a campus, outreach campus in Lagos, Canada.

So this is in a nutshell. I've written many books about personality disorders. I published dozens of articles in academic journals and so on and so forth. That's been the focus of my life in the last 30 years.

So let's hope we can match my knowledge of personality disorders with your expertise in dealing with trauma victims and with the issue of serial killing.

Serial killers and serial killing. And there are many stereotypes, many myths. There's a lot of nonsense going on, a lot of hype. Many people claim to be experts on serial killers just because they've interviewed a serial killer in prison or two and so on and so forth. But actually, there's only one repository of knowledge about serial killers, a single one. And that is the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crimes in the FBI. This National Center has issued repeatedly since 2005 Compendia of what we know about serial killers. And what we know about serial killers has extremely little to do with Silence of the Lambs or with whatever you hear in the media or with star crime or discovery crime or with true crime shows.

And many of the self-styled experts who go on television and proclaim and pronounce and promulgate all kinds of info about serial killers, they're misleading the public. Everything they say is negated by this golden standard of the FBI.

So we're going to, I'm going to orient this conversation to focus or to pivot around the information gathered in the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the last few decades. They have profiled almost 1000 serial killers from all over the world. So I think we should rely on the FBI rather than the media.

That's interesting you say that because actually tomorrow I have an interview with a retired FBI agent who served in the Behavioral Analysis Unit. So I like that you reference that because I agree that is the golden standard.

Okay, so we have agreed on five questions. And if you got me through.

I can't wait to hear you have to say so what do you believe are the motivations of a serial killer?

The fact is that we know very little about serial killers. And so there is no commonality of motivations. It is not true that all serial killers are clones of each other. It is not true that they are motivated by a set of motivations, sort of a closed set of motivations. There's no commonality. And so we don't know the answer is we don't know what motivates serial killers. We do know however, how serial killers behave. And we have come to the conclusion that serial killing is a choice, a behavioral choice.

The problem is that serial killers themselves are ill equipped to provide us with insight into their own psyche or psychology or motivations and so on and so forth. Because the vast majority of them are psychopaths.

We're going to come to it a bit later, I assume.

And so they lie, they simply lie. There are a few of them who are psychotic and very, very few who are narcissists. So these lie to themselves as well as to the investigators.

There is no reliable form of self-reporting that could be applied to serial killers, not even the hallowed PCLR test, which is a test for diagnosing psychopathy.

So the answer to this is we don't know.

The second point I'd like to make with regards to this question is that serial killing is cyclical. There is cyclical. A serial killer kills, then he vanishes off the face of the earth for a few years, for a few months, and then he kills again.

And there is something called emotional cooling off period. It seems that something builds up inside the serial killer. It becomes intolerable. It becomes uncontrollable. And then the serial killer lets off steam by killing someone and then it cools off and it becomes essentially normal, essentially the exact equivalent of a healthy person.

And then this thing, whatever it is, maybe it's anxiety, we're not sure, could be anxiety. We have linked anxiety recently to psychopathy. We know the psychopaths, most psychopaths suffer from anxiety disorders.

So this could be an accumulation of anxieties. Could be boredom. Psychopaths have a low threshold for boredom, tolerance of boredom. Could be frustration, cumulative frustration, multiple sources. We know from the work of Dolan and others in 1939 that frustration leads to aggression.

But what we do know is that whatever it is that is accumulating inside the serial killer drives the serial killer to kill. And then there's a respite and then there's a relapse.

So we could conceive of serial killing as the equivalent of addiction because it's precisely the psychodynamics of addiction. In addiction, something builds in, usually some form of anxiety or intolerance of reality or frustration or negative affectivity. Something builds in, insight. And then the addict consumes something. He consumes a substance, he consumes a drug or he engages in a behavior that is addictive and repetitive, such as gambling or sex or whatever.

And then he chills. The addict calms down. He relaxes. He becomes normal for a while, healthy for a while. And then it starts all over again.

Serial killing therefore resembles addiction and may be addictive for we know.

So sort of like an irrational, unhealthy coping mechanism to potentially deal with all of these things that you mentioned, whether it's boredom or frustration or anxiety.

Yes, unhealthy, definitely. Antisocial, definitely. I'm not quite sure it's irrational. Anything that gets it done, anything that works, on the face of itrussian. It has a high cost both to the serial killer and to his victims. But it does the trick. We know it does the trick because we have serial killers who have been at it for decades. So somehow it's therapeutic.

Serial killing is therapeutic and addictive.

Now it's a strange thing to say about serial killing, that it's a form of self-administered therapy, but it is. It absolutely is. That's the way a serial killer looks at it. He has this urge or need or drive that he cannot control that consumes him or her.

I'm saying him because majority, vast majority of serial killers are men, consumes him and then he kills and then he feels much better. He feels relieved. He feels confident.

And so it seems to work. It's self-medication by killing.

The thing is, you know, a lot of people feel like might feel those things, but they smoke a cigarette or they have a drink, right? Or they gamble, why kill? You know, that's the question I've always had. We don't know. The honest answer is we don't know.

After well over 140 years of studying serial killers, starting with the famous Jack the Ripper, we still have no idea what drives these people. What is this thing that is accumulating inside them? What causes addictive behavior? This kind of addictive behavior? What is this anxiolytic, anxiolytic urge, an attempt to reduce anxiety and so on and so forth?

But the truth is we don't know much about addiction either. We used to have the construct of addictive personality until recently, but it's been discarded. We no longer use this construct. We no longer believe that there is something like addictive personality.

So the answer is we don't know.

We don't know what goes on inside the serial killer's mind. We don't know what the motivations are and so on and so forth. And I doubt very much that they know. I doubt very much that they know. They have very powerful defenses amongst them, denial. They are cognitively distorted. So they are, for example, grandiose. I'm not sure they have the capacity to give us unfettered access to reality or to the truth because I think they're divorced from reality and from in their self deceiving.

And of course, these defense mechanisms in their case, they are fantasy defenses. So it's a form of fantasy. Serial killing is a form of fantasy. These are not healthy people, as we will see when we come to question number five. I never said that they are healthy people, but on the other hand, they're not insane. So it's somewhere in between.

I saw a fascinating interview with Catherine Lamson, who was interviewing Dennis Rader, BTK, and he calls what he describes Factor X because he also doesn't know how to explain it. But he talked about something that I thought was so fascinating that he described his mother as being overbearing and critical. And one day she lost her ring in the couch. And when she reached down to find her ring, he saw that she was in pain and anguish in her face. And it was the first and she was screaming for his help to get her hand out. And he was like a boy in puberty. And it was the first time he felt powerful and dominant over his mother. And he was in control of her pain or pleasure to help her to release her fingers from the couch.

I thought that was a really interesting insight.

We'll discuss the issue of power in question number three.

Yes, it's a dominant feature of serial killers. Yeah, and that's sort of if you want to go right to that question too.

I think that's fascinating. Like, you know, what do we what do we actually know about serial killers? Let's first go to question number two, what we don't know about serial killers. Yeah, so what are the stereotypes? Yeah, wrong, wrong stereotypes.

Stereotypes could be right, but these are wrong stereotypes.

First of all, there's a stereotype that serial killers are reclusive and weirdos. They're not reclusive in weirdos. The overwhelming vast majority of serial killers are middle class. They're married. They have gainful employment. And they have children. That's the overwhelming vast majority, well over 80% actually.

So they're not reclusive, they're not weirdos. They're pillars of the community, pilot fighters, fighter pilots, I'm sorry, volunteers in the community, businessmen of standing, etc, etc. So they're not reclusive. And now number two, there's a stereotype that most serial killer, the serial killers are invariably white males. Yes, the majority of serial killers are white in the West, but that's because the majority of population is white in the West. Actually, the number of non white serial killers matches the proportion of non whites in the population. So we cannot say that being white predisposes you to being a serial killer. That's not true.

However, being male does predispose you to being a serial killer. Males are overrepresented among serial killers. There are of course, male serial killers, but a very tiny, a very small minority.

The next thing is that serial killers are self destructive and self punitive. And so they want to get caught. Actually, the FBI is it pains to find a single case of anyone who wanted to get to get caught. What happens is that serial killers become overconfident. Because we come overconfident, they make mistakes. Because they make mistakes, they get caught. They also tend to taunt the police and law enforcement, they tend to kind of communicate with the police and law enforcement, trying to humiliate law enforcement or taunt them, challenge them or whatever. This communication, of course, leaves a trail of breadcrumbs and leads directly to the perpetrator. So it's a serious mistake.

The next thing is that serial killers are narcissists. They're not, it's a very small minority of serial killers and narcissists, actually. The next thing is that serial killers are insane. They're not, again, a very small minority of serial killers suffer from psychotic disorders. All the others are totally normal.

The next thing is that serial killers are geniuses. That is not true in the sample of the FBI. The distribution of intelligence caution, distribution of IQ among serial killer is the same as the distribution of IQ in the general population. So they are not geniuses. Some of them are geniuses, but some people in the general population are geniuses.

In short, serial killers reflect society totally. Gender, I mean, race, IQ, with one exception, gender. And the last thing is something we have been discussing before our talk. Everyone attributes serial killing to childhood trauma, bad relationships with a mother, abandonment, neglect, what is known as adverse childhood experiences, ACEs. That is not true. The FBI and others failed to find any commonality of psychosocial, any common psychosocial denominator. There's nothing in common to serial killers, nothing. Some of them suffered trauma. Some of them didn't. Some of them grew in loving households. Some of them grew in divorced families, single parent family. There's nothing common to all or majority of serial killers, including trauma.

So this is a myth. This is a media myth, media hype, because it's very palatable, you know? And because we want to make sense of serial killing, it is so senseless. And we want to believe that the world is somehow structured, there's order and structure and cause and effect. And that these people have been traumatized and therefore they became sexual predators or they became serial killers.

And in the absence of trauma, there's no such risk. That is a lie we are telling ourselves, that self-deception. Anyone can and does become a serial killer, regardless of background. That's the truth.

Now, what do we know about serial killers?

As you, yeah, please wanted to ask something. Two things. Well, first is, I think another reason too, like if we linked it to trauma, then it could be potentially prevented. That's one, you know, or even treated or even treated.

Right. Exactly.

And then the other thing is, any research or insight into why most serial killers are men? People link it, scholars link it to testosterone, the innate propensity of men to be much more aggressive than women. That's been documented in hundreds of studies that men are much more aggressive by nature than women. Men are men are prone to violence. While women, when they do externalize aggression, which is rare, they are more likely towomen, when they do externalize aggression, which is rare, they are more likely to be verbal. They're more likely to verbalize men are more likely to be bodily. This has to do with men, not with serial killers. Men, of course, have a different proportion of testosterone to other hormones. Women have testosterone. Let it be clear. It's not a male hormone. It's a mistake. It's a human hormone. But males have more testosterone than women. And testosterone has a series of impacts on the brain. One of them is disinhibition. It removes or obstructs impulse control. It generates aggressive behaviors. It also emphasizes the body. The body takes over the mind. It's a corporeal thing, a hormone.

So because men are more exposed to the effects of testosterone from an early age till they die, basically, then they are more prone to physical violence than women.

I think that's the only explanation because I don't see anything else. Had it been had it been social, had the reason been social or even social biological, then women should have been much more violent than men because women have been oppressed and suppressed for millennia. So when you're suppressed and enslaved and mistreated and abused for millennia, you tend to accumulate frustration and aggression.

Women should have been much more aggressive than men, actually. But they're not.

So there's clearly a biological genetic hereditary determinant here. It's clearly biological. I think that's the only plausible explanation in my opinion.

There are other explanations just for the sake of being comprehensive. There are other explanations. For example, one of the explanations is that men are encouraged to not express emotions. And then when they suppress emotions and so on and so forth, these emotions cause them to behave in ways which are antisocial.

I don't buy into any of this. I don't mind to any of this because, for example, there are communities where women are encouraged to suppress emotions, Orthodox Judaism, Amish community, and so on and so forth. And women do not become violent in these communities, even though they're not allowed to express emotions.

In Afghanistan, in fundamentalist Muslim societies, women are not allowed to express emotions. They are penalized bodily if they do. So in all these societies, if this hypothesis were true, and it's the outcome of emotional suppression and oppression, then women in these societies would have become violent. And of course, they're not.

For example, the rate of women killing their husbands is much, much lower than the rate of men killing their wives, although they're both in the same household. I mean, theoretically, 50-50% chance, you know, they both have access to knives, to the same knife, you know, but one of them prefers to use it much more than the other.

So women simply are not prone to violence. End of story.

Those are exactly the thought provoking comments. I knew I would hear from you. And that's why I love talking to you so much. That is fascinating.

And as females, we have a lot of reasons to be angry, right? Everything you said, but we still are not biologically prone to commit violent crime, or be sexual status.

Women have developed over the millennia, women have developed passive aggressive strategy, because they were punished if they were overt in your face, defiant, they were punished. They were killed, basically, until very recently. So they learned to work under the radar, they learned to be passive aggressive, they learned to manipulate to become manipulative.

Women are manipulative, passive aggressive is not the time I'm not idealizing with, but they have different strategies, whereas a man would would tend to externalize aggression, bodily, definitely.


Men are men also, for example, the majority of sexual offenders, but sex is also is also a lot to do with the body. It's a body thing. EvenBut still, the men use their bodies. It's a body thing. Women are also sexual offenders, but much, much, much, much fewer than men.

Right, they use their body to commit the crime.

Yes, in sexual offense, you use the body to commit the crime. The body is the instrument of the crime. And this is much more common among men than among women. Much more.

And that's the links that really interest me, the research around that.

So what do we actually know about serial killers?

A few surprising things, a few intuitive things, a few counterintuitive and a few intuitive things.

First of all, a surprising percentage of serial killers do it for money, for financial gain. And then having committed a crime, they have to eliminate the witnesses. So they end up being serial killers. They end up killing like members of the whole family or, you know, it's a surprising number. It's a surprising.

The next surprising thing is the overwhelming vast majority of serial killers kill within a very limited geographical parameter. Very small territory. It's not true. The serial killers kill over many states or many countries or there are serial killers who, because of their profession, they are truck drivers or homeless or vagabonds, hobos, this kind of serial killers, they simply travel alone. And as they travel, they kill in different states, different countries and so on.

But serialkillers, the majority of well over 80 percent of serial killers, as I said, own houses have children are married at the time of the crimes are middle class and usually pillars of the community. So these people kill within the community in a very, very limited, unbelievably limited geographical area.

That's the second myth about serial killers.

Next thing is that some serial killers do stop spontaneously and for no reason. They just stop. So they kill for like 15 years and then they stop. We don't know why they started and we don't know why they've stopped.

This is a very interesting observation because had serial killing if serial killing had anything to do with something that is fixed, like, for example, a post-traumatic condition, if it is not treated, is a constant thing. You don't become post-traumatic on Wednesday and you're not post-traumatic on Friday. It's who you are. The post trauma is who you are.

So if serial killing had to do with any features, psychological features, social features, other features that were fixed, that were constant across the lifespan, then we would have expected serial killers to kill all the time, to never stop. But they stop. They suddenly stop.

And when we interviewed a few dozen of these serial killers who have stopped and then caught later, some of them were caught 20 years after the last murder, we asked them, why did you stop? One of them said, I discovered masturbation. I'm kidding, you know. The other one said, I got married and became a family man. I had to stop. Another guy said, my wife started to give me sex or, you know, I didn't need to kill anymore.

And so on. It seems that they stop because circumstances have changed, not because of anything innate.

In other words, it seems that serial killing is an environmental choice, a circumstantial choice. It is triggered by environmental cues.

And when we come to the profile of the victim, question number four, we will see that it's pretty accurate. That's pretty how it goes. Pretty much how it goes.

Next thing, the next few things are well known in both intuitively and in practice.

We know that serial killers are attention seeking and thrill seeking. So they have a narcissistic trait of basking in attention, loving attention, soliciting and eliciting attention. They do it in a variety of ways. They contact the media, they contact the police, you know.

And they're free seekers, which is a psychopathic trait.

The next thing we know is that serial killing, exactly like rape, exactly like rape, same psychology is about power, dominance, control. The violence is intended to intimidate. The serial killer is therefore in all probability sadistic and derives arousal and gratification from the fear, the victim's fear. So aggression in this case is instrumentalized. It's not necessarily about being aggressive, for example, expressing anger. It's using aggression to construct a situation which involves dominance and the fear that the dominance elicits.

Now we call such behaviors compensatory behaviors. These behaviors intend to compensate for the exact opposite inside. So when you, for example, we call, I mean, the clinical term is reaction formation. So when you, for example, you feel that you're weak, that you are inferior, that you are not imposing bodily, your body is not imposing, you're ugly, you're even disabled in some way.

In this case, you will try to compensate for it by dominating someone, by projecting power and control, and terrorizing that person and holding that person's life in your hand as God would.

And this is compensatory. So it is safe to assume that most serial killers are sadistic.

And we know that they engage in deviant and paraphiliac sex, what used to be called perverted sex. And it's not about the sex, because, for example, many of them don't consummate. They don't penetrate. It's not about the sex. Many of them don't even come. They don't ejaculate. It's not about the sex. It's about the potential for sex. It's like, I own you now. Not only your life is in my hands, but I can attack you. I can kill you. I can rape you. I can. The sex is a mode of communication. It's intended to convey my dominance and control as your serial killer. It's intended to to so fear. And this is, of course, the role of rape in war. In war, soldiers used rape to intimidate the population and promulgate, announce their control over a territory. So it's very similar to rape dynamics.

But there is something peculiar to serial killer, serial killer killers, which is not common in rape or actually absent in rape. In rape, there's no intimacy. None. Rape has nothing to do with sex and nothing to do with intimacy. Rape is 100 percent about power.

In serial killer, in killing, there is an element of intimacy. The intimacy has nothing to do with the sex. The intimacy has to do with the victim's fear, victim's fear of the serial killer. The more the fear escalates, the more the victim's fear escalates, the more the serial killer feels intimate with the victim, ironically. And the intimacy culminates with the act of murder. So killing someone is the ultimate form of intimacy, as far as a serial killer is concerned. It's the total intimacy with a stranger. It's a form of merger, merging with a with a victim, becoming one with a victim in a sublime act of taking life away, which is a kind of mirror image of giving birth.

As in giving birth, you are merged with a newborn in an act of giving life. And in serial killing, you are merged with a victim in an act of taking life. It's a kind of perverted birth.

And many serial killers, if not the majority, have described this moment of fusion with a victim, this moment of total enmeshment, extreme unprecedented intimacy that cannot be replicated in any other way, not even in sex with a wife, whatever. And this intimacy is partly bodily, so they monitor the bodily reactions of the victim, perspiration, dilation of the pupils, spasms of the muscles, blood. Blood plays a huge role, symbolic and otherwise, and so on.

But it's partly not bodily. It's partly interpretation of the victim's reactions.

For example, many serial killers misinterpret the convulsions of death to be orgasmic signals. They think that death is an orgasm. They identify death with orgasm.

So for them, the victim becomes orgasmic as she dies. They endow her with the ultimate sexual experience, which is death. And many serial killers mention the fact, and it is a fact, that when you hang someone, a man, the man has an erection. It's the truth. It has nothing to do, of course, with anything psychological. It's the result of blood rushing to the bottom of the body.

But in the eyes of the serial killers who were interviewed and mentioned this repeatedly, this signifies an intimate connection between death and sex, death and orgasm.

And so there is a lot of intimacy in serial killing, which is absent in rape.

I mentioned that serial killers play a game of cat and mouse with the police, law enforcement and with the media, haunting them, mocking them, ridiculing them, humiliating them, most famous example is Jack the Reaper, but he's not the only one, BTK, Zodiac and so on.

And this taunting game has to do with defiance and something which is called consummation. Comptumation is rejection of authority. So it signals disdain and contempt for authority and for society. And these are 100% psychopathic traits.

Finally, the next thing is serial killers regard what they do as an art. They're creative people, the highly creative people. They spend months, sometimes years, planning each murder. And they're very creative. They put a lot of creativity in it, which is one of the main reasons they don't get caught for a very long time because they're really invested in it.

And so they regard themselves as artists. And because they're the artists of pain, the artists of death, but it's an art form. And so they're very proud of what they do. They have professional pride. And they are perfectionists. They criticize themselves and chastise and castigate themselves if they forgot some detail, or, you know, so they are highly perfectionistic, and they have a harsh inner critic. And they get very angry if one of the murders is attributed, misattributed to another person. They want to take credit for the murders.

The same way an author would like to take credit for his novels, or an artist would like to take credit for his paintings.

So no one likes plagiarism. If I kill someone, I want that killing registered to my name. I want another notch in my belt. I would be very, very pissed off if someone else took the credit and plagiarized my murder.

Murderized, plagiarized.

Okay, finally. So these are the things we know about the serial killers.

And finally, serial killers have externalized aggression. They are all, and there is here no exception, they're all angry, hostile people, angry and hostile. They're hateful. They're seething with rage. They have what we call negative affectivity. And because they're like that, and very critical of other people, and very, you know, they think everyone's stupid, everyone is.

So because of that, they're constantly frustrated. And they don't have impulse control. So they externalize aggression, their aggression immediately translates into a murder, basically. They do, however, it's a very bizarre combination. To my, as far as I know, the only case in human psychology.

Normally, when you have a problem with impulse control, you cannot delay gratification. If you have a problem with impulse control, you also have a problem with delaying your gratification. So you need everything immediately. You need immediate satisfaction.

In serial killing, there is impulsivity, lack of impulse control. For example, many of them kill impulsively. They scout the area, they spot a few potential victims and so on. And then one day, they drive by with a car and they pick up someone to kill. It's totally impulsive.

Blend but impulsive. It's another contradiction in serial killing. But they're impulsive, but they definitely can postpone gratification. So they would, they would, they would spot a victim, and then they would spend weeks and months, sometimes years following the victim, learning the victims have removed her pattern, her life, her friends, her pets, her lovers, they would come to the compiled files, they take photos, they make notes. I mean, they're amazing. They're like profilers. So this requires an extremely high level of ability to postpone gratification, to delay it. It's an adult trait, actually. But on the other hand, finally, they kind of break and they become impulsive. It's like they postpone gratification, and it builds and it builds and it builds and builds, and then they lose it. And they act.

There is no similar psychological profile in anywhere, in any situation, in any group of people. It's the only case where impulsivity combines with the ability to postpone gratification. And so this is more or less what we do know about serial killers. I don't think I've missed anything. This is what we know, which is not much, mind you, we know a lot more about narcissists and psychopaths and so on. We don't know much about serial killers.

That was like the most fascinating 10 minutes of my life. I so. For you. You should go out more. You should go out more.

Okay, so there's so many, I just want to make a few comments. Like first, I was thinking about geography, how Joe D'Angelo, known as the Golden State Killer and BTK, Dennis Rader, I mean, they were committing their serial killings right in their community.

And then, so, I mean, I was thinking about that. And then also how when I was talking with the retired FBI profiler, she was telling me that one of the signatures when she was analyzing cases was these offenders, most of them are very immature, emotionally mature and insecure.

So it was very interesting. And then the intimacy part. I'm trying to understand that.

So it's almost like he is in a heightened state of arousal. And then the victim is in a heightened state of arousal. It's much simpler. It's much simpler.

When you cannot have intimacy in life, you find intimacy in death. Intimacy is a need. Everyone needs intimacy. If you're banned at intimacy with living things, then you would be good at intimacy with dying things or dead things. It's very simple.

They have no other choice. They're not good. They're not very good with intimacy.

I'm not sure. You see, the problem with profilers and so on is that they have very limited experience. They've done what? Two serial killers? Ten serial killers. If they are like Gerald Post or ten serial killer.

But there have been 800. So you should never listen even to an FBI profiler. She's building on her extremely limited, non-representative example. It is not true. I mean, the FBI repeatedly tried to prove this. There is no proof and no evidence and no study that links serial killers to immaturity, insecurity, any other personality parameter by the way. None. Not one. There's been a total failure to connect serial killing to any personality dimension or parameter. Or any psychobiosocial element or nothing. There's no predictor. It's total nonsense.

Some of these serial killers were extremely mature and extremely secure. They were pillars of the community. They were top level businessmen. They were fighter pilots. They were, I mean, and some of them, of course, were recluses and schizoates and, you know, weirdos and psychotics.

That's exactly the problem with serial killing or the issue. It represents society. If you take serial killers as a group, they're an excellent sample, representative sample of society at large. You have all kinds and varieties among them. So you can generalize, definitely.

This is a nonsensical statement, I'm sorry to say.

So that's what makes it more complicated to figure out. There's no common denominator. These are people who kill. These are people who choose to kill. Some of them choose to kill for that reason or for this reason. Some of them are mature. Some of them are insecure. Some are married. I mean, vast majority are married. Some are not married. So there's no point to generalize here. Only if you want to learn about serial killers, you need to go to the website of the National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime, FBI.

As I said, since 2005, they have a kind of committee which is comprised of hundreds of scholars in the field of serial killing. And this committee issues reports. The first report was issued in 2005. And so in that particular report, I think there were a few hundred or a few hundred scholars involved in writing the report. And these are the definitive, this is the definitive knowledge about serial killing. All the rest is anecdotes, speculations, projections. Sometimes immature and insecure profilers would find serial killers immature and insecure. It's called projection. So it's not safe. The only safe knowledge is what I mentioned.

Go there and you will find your answers. Or you'll find that there are no answers, actually.

I'm definitely going to go thereafter and read everything.

What is a typical profile of a victim of a serial killer?

Another myth. There is none. The three elements that characterize all victims of serial killing were number one, by far, availability, access, by far. That is by far the most important element.

If you happen to be there, bad luck for you.

So availability. The second element is vulnerability. If you're in a vulnerable position, psychological or physical, so vulnerability.

And only in third place, remote third place, desirability. So some serial killers have types. So they would go for a highly specific type of victim. Specific race, specific gender, specific age, specific profession, specific something. So there would be some typology, be a type. And they would, in these killers, usually, but not always, by the way, there would be type constancy. In the majority of these killers, there would be type constancy. But these killers are the minority of serial killers. The majority of serial killers kill totally, randomly.

You are there, and you are vulnerable, and then you are dead.

A minority of serial killers kill according to type. And within this minority, there's a sizable minority who are not type constancy. So they can kill three female students, and then they can kill a homeless man, for example. So that's the answer. There is nothing else common to victims of serial killing. None. Not education, not mental health, not mental illness, not nothing, money, nothing else in common.

So when people talk about security and safety, it's really no way to be secure and safe. Because if you're in a vulnerable place, most serial killing is random. Most serial killing is random.

You think it decreases someone's potential to be a victim if they have less routine? Like if they're not gauging the same patterns of coming home at the same time or leaving at the same time and those kind of things? If a potential serial killer has determined that you are both available and vulnerable. Available, for example, you don't have an alarm, and your lock is very easy to pick. That's available. Or you jog. You jog every morning for a few kilometers in a secluded area. That's available. So if the serial killer decided that you're available, and then also decided that you're vulnerable, for example, you are very weak, you are small, you are prone to talk to strangers, you are needy, you are vulnerable. Or you're in the aftermath of some tragedy, so you're not exactly in full control of what you're doing and who you are.

So you're trauma, in the wake of some trauma, divorce, having lost a child, you know, this kind of thing. Breakup. So if he reaches a conclusion that you're both available and vulnerable, then chances are that if he finds yourself, if you find yourself in his path, he's gonna kill you.

The thing is that you cannot predict. Varying routine would make it more difficult for him.

But if it is true, and it is true statistically, that they kill randomly, then varying routine would do nothing. Because he could, he might as well kill you at one o'clock in the afternoon, then at eight o'clock in the morning.

It's varying the routine will not stop.

This is exactly the stereotype of serial killers, that they are following routines, that they're analyzing, that they're, that's not true. It is true that they scout, scout environments and neighborhoods and so on, to find potential victims, to identify who is available and who is vulnerable.

But that's where it ends. That's it. And there's a lot of work in this.

So to determine availability and to determine vulnerability, they have to study, they have to study who you are, they have to study your friends and family.

And I mean, there's a lot of work that goes into it. But it's focused on availability and vulnerability. And once this is determined, no amount of routine variation will protect you.

Because you can come across this guy, anytime of the day, any part of the city, at any moment.

That's the said truth. He can invade your home. I mean, they can wait for you. You vary your routine and he isn't in your bathroom.

I was thinking when you said if the motivation of one of the serial killers is boredom, you're right. Look how much time is invested in planning and stalking or fantasizing. There's a lot of time and energy invested in that process.

Yeah, I must, I must perhaps correct some impression that I may have given.

The serial killer doesn't focus on you specifically. Serial killers like Ted Bundy, they focus on environments. So they say for them, here's a campus. Here's a campus. Now I'm going to scout the campus. I'm going to learn everything about the campuses and so on.

And within the campus, I'm going to identify potentials. I'm going to identify who is vulnerable, who is available, who is desirable, perhaps, if I'm type oriented, and we're going to identify them. And then they have like, they have like a catalog in their minds, they have like a library in their minds. And it says, if I head over to this campus, I spotted 24 potentials. I'm bound to come across one. I know I'm going to come across one. So I'm going to head into a nursing school. I'm going to head over to a nursing school, because everyone there is available and some of them are vulnerable. I'm likely to find my victims.

So they are more, they're more environmentally oriented than individually oriented. They don't kill you because of who you are. They kill you because of where you are, and because of the fact that you are not likely to resist or to inflict harm on the serial killer.

So yes, a lot of study goes into the, but this study is ambient, is not necessarily about you, but about how you fit into the killing field, the killing zone. You understand?

Yeah, and that was an interesting comment that it's okay for them to inflict harm, but they don't want to choose a victim that could potentially inflict harm upon them.

Of course, they get very pissed off, very aggravated, they almost feel, they almost feel injustice when they are, it's an injustice when they are, when they suffer any consequences, you know, especially physical.

Right. Well, that's fascinating.

So are they mentally ill? Are they narcissists, psychopaths?

No, a small minority of narcissists. That myth really has to go.

Vanishing a small minority of narcissists.

Here's the confusion. You're going to find textbooks and scholarly texts that say that most serial killers are narcissists.

The confusion is this grandiosity is a very important clinical feature of narcissism, but it's also a very important clinical feature of many other mental health issues, such as psychopathy, such as borderline personality disorder, such as bipolar disorder, and so on.

So many, many wannabe scholars, would be scholars, self-styled experts, they confuse grandiosity with narcissism. They're not the same.

Grandiosity is a feature of narcissism. The same way psychosis is a feature of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is not psychosis. Psychosis is a symptom of schizophrenia.

Grandiosity is a symptom of narcissism, but it's also a symptom of psychopathy. It doesn't make psychopathy the same as narcissism. It doesn't make narcissism psychopathy.

These are two distinct clinical entities united by a few common features, such as grandiosity.

So there are only two types of mental illness identified among serial killers, rigorously identified among serial killers, but people who know what they're doing.

One is psychopathy, antisocial personality disorder, that's the more precise definition, and the other one is psychotic disorder, psychosis. Period.

There's no other mental illness which has been rigorously and repeatedly diagnosed among serial killers. By far the vast majority of serial killers, almost all of them, I would say, maybe two or three exceptions of 800, are psychopaths. They have been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder of an extreme form that is colloquially known as psychopathy.

Psychopathy is not a clinical term. You cannot find it in the diagnostic and statistical manual. There's no such thing as psychopathy in the DSM, but psychopathy is like really, really extreme and egregious antisocial person, someone with antisocial personality disorder who is really taking it to a new level.

That's a psychopath. Overwhelming majority of serial killers, I would even say all serial killers, a psychopath, a small minority of them, very small, also have psychotic disorder.

Now let me give a few broad brushstrokes.

A psychopathic serial killer has no empathy, but in a very profound sense. You know, you can watch me and I can watch you and we don't empathize with each other. It's okay, but we recognize each other as members of the same species. We make certain assumptions about our commonalities. It's known as the intersubjectivity.

The assumption that your subjectivity and my subjectivity are the same, that we experience the world in ourselves more or less the same. So this is not empathy, but it's being human, you know, common humanity, shared humanity.

When I say that psychopathic serial killers don't have empathy, I mean that they don't consider the victims as members of the same species. They kill the victim the same way maybe someone would kill a dog or an insect, or they kill the victim as if the victim was some kind of animal.

They don't see the shared humanity with the victim.

Now you could say, well, that's a problem. They probably don't see shared humanity with anyone. No, that's not true. These psychopathic serial killers definitely share their humanity with, for example, their children and wife, with their friends, with calling many colleagues and so on.

So they are capable of empathy. They are capable of a shared humanity. They are capable of intersubjectivity, only not with the victims. They turn this off somehow. It's turned off, it's switched off when it comes to victims.

When they victimize, when they murder, when they victimize someone, they dehumanize that person and objectify that person to the point that the victim becomes some kind of symbol, some kind of representation avatar.

This is another source of confusion with narcissism because what narcissists do, they convert external objects, they convert people out there into internal objects. And narcissists continue to interact with internal objects, which represent the external object out there.

So a narcissist does not recognize the existence of external objects, external people, people out there. The narcissist interacts exclusively with avatars, icons, snapshots, as I call it, of people out there in his mind.

The psychopathic serial killer does the same to the victim. He converts her, he converts the victim into some symbol or representation or internal object or avatar or snapshot or icon or whatever you want to call it.

And then he manipulates the victim and very often they manipulate the victim. They play with the body of the victim. They cut off parts of the body. They play with body parts. They regard the victim as some kind of trauma, victim's body, as some kind of raw material, some kind of raw material that you can play with, rearrange, reject the reaper, rearrange all kinds of body parts all over.

And so when in those times, so there's an element of switching, the psychopathic serial killer switches exactly like we are switching in DID, in Dissociative Identity Disorder, which used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder. We have switching between different alters, different personalities.

The psychopathic serial killer switches. He switches from a healthy, normal, functioning, married father and husband and pillar of the community. He suddenly switches and he becomes this monster, if you wish, a serial killer. He becomes a serial killer.

And at that point, having switched, he's incapable of perceiving people as human beings. They become, as I said, symbolic raw material, which they can play with and so on and so forth.

The act of killing is a form of intimacy precisely because the victim does not exist.

So the serial killer becomes intimate with himself through the victim. It's a form of self-intimacy and self-love and self-arousal, auto-erotic arousal through the victim, through the agency of the victim's body.

Indeed, the FBI has found that the vast majority of serial killers are auto-erotic. They prefer their own body as a sexual object to the bodies of other people. They derive sexual arousal from their own bodies rather than from other people's bodies.

And even when they have sex, they masturbate with other people's bodies. It's totally auto-erotic.

So I think the act of murder is the sex of the serial killer.

The act of murder, in short, is masturbation. It's a masturbatory act.

The serial killer masturbates with the victim's body, makes love to himself through the victim's body.

By merging with the victim's body, which is kind of sex object, by merging with the victim's body, the serial killer rendered his own body a sexual object, a desirable sexual object.

So it's very complex. It's much more complex than it seems. There's a lot at play here because there is definitely switching.

The Ted Bundy, who was married, who was a brilliant student, a hundred and sixty-eight, if I remember, and so on and so forth, the Ted Bundy, in between killings, was described as a wonderful guy by people who worked with him. He was in a center suicide assistance hotline, suicide hotline. He was like a great guy. He was really a great guy. That's why all these women fell for him. He was a great guy.

Then he switched, and these women became raw material. But raw material for what? Raw material for self-exploration and especially sexual self-exploration.

It was as if the serial killer talks through his victim's bodies to himself, talks with himself through the victim's bodies, uses the victim's bodies to create a channel of communication to parts of himself which are otherwise inaccessible, barred somehow, off limits.

So that's why I keep saying that serial killing is in a way therapeutic when it comes to the serial killer. It's a form of self-administered therapy.

We know that serial killers are impulsive, and we know that they're predatory, and we know that all of them are grandiose.

That much is true.

So this makes a profile of a psychopath, not a narcissist, a psychopath.

Now among the psychotic serial killers, they kill because of their psychosis.

From time to time, they have a hallucination. Hallucination appears to be very real.

This is a psychological process known as hyper-reflectivity.

They develop an hallucination, and within the hallucination, killing makes sense.

So you could have a paranoid hallucination. She's going to kill me. I have to kill her. You know, I have to kill her first before she kills me. You can have a grandiose hallucination. God told me to kill her, so I'm in the service of God.

You could have a bizarre hallucination. She's transforming into a tarantula. She's transforming into a monster, and I have to kill her before she kills me. So you have all kinds of hallucinations, and the hallucinations make sense of the killing. Killing is rational within the irrational hallucination.

That's in a psychotic killer.

But again, psychotic killers are extremely few and far between. One could generalize and say that serial killing is a psychopathic phenomenon.

And here it raises an interesting question.

Imagine that tomorrow, under the new Trump administration, serial killing becomes legal.

I know it's a bit too much, but I'm not quite sure. Okay. It becomes legal.

How many psychopaths would suddenly become serial killers?

In other words, if all serial killers are psychopaths, which is definitely the FBI's position, if all serial killers are psychopaths, maybe there are many, many, many psychopaths who would have liked to be serial killers, and for some reason or not. And maybe there are many, many, many, many psychopaths who are actually serial killers and haven't been caught.

Simply. I think therefore that serial killing is not alien to the nature of psychopaths.

I think it's a natural extension of psychopathy.

I think if psychopaths were given the opportunity, they would have killed many people. Every psychopath would have killed many people throughout life. I'm convinced of it.

Some of them are afraid of the law. Some of them are not. There are many reasons not to kill, to not kill. You have a lot of incentives. We're incentivized to not kill.

But had this been legitimized or become a, and indeed you see psychopaths in armies, in prison, in, and they kill, they kill endlessly. I think serial killing is a natural extension and manifestation of psychopathy.

I think had psychopaths been allowed a big proportion, maybe a majority, would have become serial killers. I think there are environments that legitimize serial killing, war, for example, legitimize serial killing, and variously psychopaths letting go.

I think there are environments that legitimize mutilation, not serial killing, but mutilation, for example, surgery in hospitals.

Strangely, we found that a disproportionate number of surgeons have antisocial personality, a psychopath.

So I think we tend to regard serial killing as a niche, a niche kind of phenomenon, an outlier. It's like, yeah, it happens so rarely.

Luckily, we have structured society and so on to incentivize psychopaths to not kill serially. But I think in what is called anomic society, societies where norms are no longer valid, where there is a lot of disruption, such as revolutions and wars.

I think in anomic societies, psychopaths would become serial killers naturally.

And of course, the greatest example is the SS in Nazi Germany. People think that the SS in Nazi Germany was a small organization and they managed the concentration camps. The SS was not a small organization. The SS comprised 3.2 million people. There were 3.2 million people, members in the SS, out of an adult population of 47 million. Out of a male population of 27 million, there were 3.2 million people. That's a huge proportion. It's like 10% more, 15.

The SS was a psychopathic organization which legitimized psychopathic behaviors, including and especially serial killing.

So it attracted 15% of the adult population, which interestingly is exactly the percentage we believe comprises narcissists and psychopaths in society.

So I think we have had a case study where serial killing was legitimized and all the psychopaths rushed in and killed serially, gleefully and joyfully.

I follow what you're saying. Is there research then or insight as to what makes someone psychopathic? Is there some moment in childhood or some kind of parents have a certain parenting style? Is there any link?

No, not in psychopathy.

We know in psychopathy that heredity plays a big role. It's genetic, as genetic as borderline personality, so even more so to some extent.

And we know definitely that psychopathic brains are abnormal. That's for sure. That's established multiple studies. They are abnormal, massively in almost every structure of the brain and almost every type of function of brain. They're abnormal, but especially the amygdala and the white matter, which the amygdala governs emotions, emotional regulation and so on and so forth. And white matter governs cognition to some extent, the prefrontal cortex and so on. The brains of psychopaths are highly specific. The physiology of psychopaths is very different. For example, psychopaths do not perspire. They do not sweat when they are afraid. The heartbeat doesn't change when they are afraid. They are afraid, but they have no physical physiological reaction to it.

And similarly, so psychopathy seems to be by and large biological, by and large, as distinct from narcissism. Narcissism, until this very day, there is no rigorous study or representative sample or cohort or population, anything to show that narcissism has anything to do with genetics or with brain abnormalities.

Although it tends to reason that narcissism is hereditary to some extent, we haven't been able to prove it yet.

Definitely the narcissist's brain at this stage, there are a few ridiculous studies by self-promoting neuroscientists and so on and so forth, but otherwise there's no serious body of research that demonstrates any abnormality or any meaningful abnormality in the brains of narcissists.

That's not the case with psychopaths. Psychopaths are aberrations. They are deviants in this in the biological sense.

Absolutely. They are outliers. And yet they constitute at the very least 6% of a population.

And if you combine them with narcissists and borderlines, probably 15%.

And I'm mentioning narcissists and borderlines because there is a sliver percentage of narcissists who are also psychopaths. And borderlines tend to become psychopathic when they are under stress or exposed to anxiety such as abandonment anxiety and so on.

So psychopathy is not limited to psychopaths, but it characterizes other mental health disorders in specific circumstances.

People can become psychopaths, at least for a while.

So a borderline theoretically can become a secondary psychopath and then kills her. And then revert to the borderline state and feel horrible about it, feel ashamed and guilty because psychopaths don't feel remorse and don't feel regret.

That's another thing about serial killers. I don't know if a single case or a serial killer honestly said, "I regret what I've done. I have remorse about it." They're very transactional. They would say this if it helps them with a parole board or something, but none of them really means any of them.

But a borderline would. But a borderline can go through a psychopathic phase and act as a psychopath would. Same with a narcissist.

So it's a danger. It's a serious danger. And there are professions where you can be a serial killer and difficult to find you out, difficult to, for example, if you're a doctor or if you're a nurse, you know how many patients you can kill before you're found out? And you found out only if you really exaggerate and you're a bit stupid. If you are a bit clever and if you don't overdo it, you can kill hundreds of patients like Dr. Shipley and not be found out.

That's one example. A psychiatrist can push his patients to commit suicide. It's extremely easy to do. Can you prove? Can you? I mean, we catch the egregious serial killers, the one who killed prostitutes in rivers, you know, we catch this kind of guys, or we catch someone who decapitates his victims and puts their heads in a refrigerator.

These are, I suspect, this is the tip of an iceberg. I think there are many, many more serial killers who are surreptitious and subtle and clever. And they know what they're doing. They operate within their own natural environment, which is so arcane and so inaccessible to others that they will never be found out.

For example, a typical police detective would find it very difficult to understand the intricacies of medical treatment, you know, or how a psychiatrist can manipulate his patients to commit suicide. It would be beyond him. I mean, forget about it.

And resources dictate. So such a such a police detective cannot hire a doctor, medical doctor, or a psychiatrist on a hunch. So he wouldn't have the backup. He wouldn't have the good.

I believe there are many serial killers who go undiscovered. I think many more than are being discovered.

Well, that's why sometimes it's good to get a second opinion.

Yeah, I feel like you're going to go into surgery. Yes, definitely. Very true.

It's very true. But sometimes you go into surgery, and you have risk, you got the second opinion and so on. And it's the nurse that kills you, or another doctor unrelated to your doctor.

And I'm talking about documented cases. Dozens, not one. Dozens, a typical nurse, typical killer nurse, usually kills 27 patients. A typical doctor nurse, a bit less, I don't know, a doctor, serial killer, medical doctor, less, but nurses, kill left, right and center. Not isolated cases, they are not isolated.

I can see what you mean. It's hard to investigate that. Or it's hard to prove it.

And the institutions protect serial killers. So the hospital will hash out the whole thing. And the church will transfer the priest. And the community of psychiatrists and psychologists and therapists would discipline the psychiatrists, but would never, you know, and then there's confidentiality. You know, you can't access the patient files. And this and then the media, on top of all these, glamorizes and glorifies and stereotypes specific, a specific sub sub sub species, a sub sub sub type of serial killer, and ignores the others, which makes it very easy for them to operate because there's no media scrutiny or no interest.

No, you know. But yeah, I believe serial killing is much more prevalent than we know, than we think, because psychopathy is a relatively widespread phenomenon.

Well, anyone listening to this today, I probably is going to look at people very differently in all different types of professions.

No, it's a dangerous world. I know. Can I I know we're at the end of our time. Just one quick clarification for anyone listening. Can you just briefly explain to anyone listeningwhat is grandiosity? Because you mentioned it several times. And Iwhen I'm having communications with people in my life, they don't really understand it. Can you just.

So as I said, grandiosity is confused with narcissism. It's only one symptom of narcissism. There are dozens of other.

And you have all these dozens of other symptoms, together with grandiosity, constitute narcissism, can't just take grandiosity and say, oh, these guys are losses.

Grandiosity is a cognitive distortion. It means that your thought processes misspecify reality or falsify reality, reframe it. So your thinking takes in information and data from the environment and then restructures this data, rewrites the information, reframes reality so as to support an inflated, fantastic self-image or self-perception.

And when reality clashes with this fantastic self-image or self-perception, when the world challenges your belief that you are godlike, perfect, superior, brilliant, genius, whatever, then you reject the world and you reject reality. There is a supremacy of your self-belief, your self-image. Your self-image overrules reality.

So grandiosity leads to what we call impaired reality testing. In other words, grandiosity leads anyone who is suffering with grandiosity, doesn't perceive reality properly because it keeps being falsified and rewritten them and so on. That's why this is called cognitive distortion.

The world is distorted, reality is distorted, it's not perceived correctly. The psychopaths have this and narcissists have this and borderlines and bipolar and many others, paranoid, all of them have this.

Very helpful. Thank you.

The grandiosity of the serial killer consists of the belief that he has godlike powers. He has the power to give life, he has the power to take life, he is godlike.

And this is a belief common to all serians. They think they elevate themselves by taking life. They believe that taking life renders you a god. It's a kind of a pothiosis, it's a kind of a ritual, a deification ritual. You were a regular human being, regular guy, regular bloke, and you took a life and it made you different, made you special, made you close to god. It's a religious experience. This ritual of taking life is ritualistic, it's ceremonial, and it's a religious experience. And that's why they become very angry when the setting or the scenery or the script somehow goes awry. Something intervenes or something didn't go as scheduled and as scripted. They were anticipating and expecting something and it didn't happen or something was, the victim was supposed to behave in a certain way and she didn't.

That drives them crazy because they are perfectionistic. They're perfectionistic because the theater play that they're producing, because it's a stage play, it's a movie. The movie they're directing has to be perfect, has to be Oscar worthy. And the victim has no right to interfere and obstruct and destroy this masterpiece, this work of art of which she is only one element and not necessarily the most important one.

So they, you should think of it indeed as a movie, a movie set.

Yeah and to circle back to the very beginning that you said being a serial killer or serial killing is a choice, you know, that's because I wondered like imagine someone calling me as a therapist and saying, "Hey, I'm involved in my church, I have children, I'm a father, but I've got this nagging itch to want to kill people. Can we talk about it in therapy?" Like that doesn't happen.

So ultimately that would be a choice, but instead they choose differently. So it's a choice, it's absolutely a choice because they are capable of controlling impulses, they are capable of making other choices.

We know that because sometimes they have opportunities to kill and they don't.

So it means that they can control it. This is one of the tests of the insanity defense.

In the insanity defense, we ask the question, do you know right from wrong? And can you control your actions?

These are the two pillars of the insanity defense. If you don't know right from wrong because you're intellectually challenged, you're psychotic or whatever, and you cannot control your actions, then you are not guilty by reason of insanity.

But when it comes to the serial killer, he definitely knows right from wrong. He chooses wrong because he believes that wrong elevates him, the wrong renders him, deifies him, he believes that acting wrongly sets him apart. That's a grandiosity thing. And he can control his actions.

We know this because all serial killers describe situations where they could have killed and decided to not kill for whatever reason. For whatever reason, sometimes they said I pit it or sometimes they say, you know, whatever. They decided to not kill.

So they're capable. They're capable of deciding to not kill. Well, that's why they're in prison or executed because, you know, it's not mental illness. It's not.

No, and I was thinking, too, that's related to the cooling off period, too, right? Because there's a cooling off period where they choose to cool off and not to kill. Definitely. It's a choice. There's no question about it. It's a psychopathic choice. But it's a choice. There is a game. There is a tiny minority of people with psychosis and so these people are insane. So nothing to do. They go, you know, mental hospitals and so on.

But 90 is about 90, 70, 90 percent of serial killers are totally sane, normal, in control psychopaths who have a life and they have a parallel life. They have a second life. And in that second life, they enact their fantasies. They create a movie, a work of art. They channel their creativity. They use victims bodies as raw material and as a way to connect to themselves and explore themselves and get sexual arousal out of the whole thing. And so forth. It's instrumentalizing, objectifying, dehumanizing other people for whatever selfish purposes.

That's as simple as that. Non-intrural glamorizing. Very perverse, twisted self-love.

The only way they can do it, they cannot accomplish intimacy except in death. And they cannot love themselves except through the dead. They're dead inside.

In order to get in touch with their inner core, which there's no core, but with their inside internal landscape, they're dead inside. They can love themselves. They can be intimate only with the dead.

So it is in the act of dying and in the aftermath of death that they come alive.

Now we have a hint of this in borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder people self-mutilate. They cut. They burn themselves. And sometimes it's bad. Sometimes it gets really bad.

Why do they do this? Because the pain, the pain drowns out the emptiness, the negative emotions, and the pain makes them feel alive. It's also a form of self-punishment in some limited cases. But generally it makes them feel alive. They've overcome the inner black hole. And now they're alive for a minute.

As long as the pain lasts, they're no longer negative. They're hopeful. They're relieved. They're alive. They're excited. They're aroused.

So borderlines also use a body and they also inflict damage on this body. Damage which is symbolic of death, you know, self-mutilation and so on, in order to feel alive and in order to get in touch with themselves and in order to drown out their negative affectivity and negative emotions.

Borderlines also do this, but borderlines choose their own bodies. And psychopathic serial killers choose other people's bodies.

The principle is the same. This principle is the same. It's about getting in touch with your deeper self, about getting, about somehow feeling alive, about somehow arousing yourself, about somehow exiting your reality. And it's a fantasy. It'sa dreamscape. It's a wonderful adventure. It's a wonderful adventure. It's real. It's technical. Reality is black and white. Reality is drab. Reality is dreary. Reality doesn't recognize the psychopath's god-like qualities and so on.

Here is, along with this victim, the perfect audience. And this victim proves to the psychopath that he is god-like.

How can she prove it? He is taking her life away. That makes him god-like. As far as the victim is concerned, the psychopath, psychopathic serial killer, is god. He is god, definitely. In that moment, he is god. And that's what he wants. He wants to experience himself as god, even if it's only for a minute or ten. To be a god. An escape from reality.

Wow. And I may, and I just comment, I see the connections too with the borderline self-mutilation, the smell of the burning, the blood from the cutting, the sharpness of the knife, or whatever instrument is used.

Whatever instrument is used. The borderline serially kills her body.

Simple. She has access to one body only. And this body, she, again, availability, vulnerability. She has a body available. And this body is vulnerable.

Wonder if it's most females. If the female, if it's mostly female, where the aggression goes inward, but males, the aggression goes up.

Well, statistically, about half of all borderlines are female and half are male. But self-mutilation is most common among the females, not among the men. Men rarely, so to speak, really.

Yeah, exactly. Women, women would choose their own bodies because they are, they internalize aggression. They don't externalize. So they would choose, but it's the same principle for me to feel alive, in control, positive about myself. I need a body. I need a body that I could kill either symbolically by cutting the body, by burning the body, or in actuality because I'm a man.

So actually kill. It's the same principle.

Well, thank you. This has been a really fascinating and educational and interesting talk.

Thank you, everyone. Thank you for having me. Don't go alone at night.

Yeah, I know. I was saying that too. I'm going to look over my shoulder for the rest of the day today. All right. Way to go. All right. Well, I'll talk to you again. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you.

Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Inside Mind of Murderous Narcissist (with Isla Traquair)

In this lecture, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the mind of a sexually sadistic killer, explaining that killing is the ultimate intimacy for this type of murderer. He describes the killer's experience during the act of killing, the aftermath, and the psychological dynamics involved. He also delves into the different types of killers, such as psychopaths, narcissists, and impulse killers, and how their behaviors and motivations differ. Additionally, he touches on the concept of victimhood and its role in contemporary society.

Fascism is Political Malignant Narcissism (Brussels Morning)

Sam Vaknin discusses the accusation that Donald Trump is leading the United States towards fascism. He argues that it is important to address narcissists in politics and prevent them from attaining power. Vaknin delves into the characteristics and tensions within fascist movements, and concludes that Trump exhibits traits of a fascist.

Narcissism Narrative Therapy ( Fix Your Narrative, Heal Yourself)

Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps patients identify values and skills associated with them, and provides them with knowledge or ability to experience these values and exercise these skills in order to confront problems. The therapist encourages self-authorship and co-authoring a new narrative about themselves. Narrative therapy is closely associated with other therapies, such as collaborative therapy and person-centered therapy. The therapist and the client are perceived as having valuable information relevant to the process and they create together the content of the therapeutic conversation by imbuing it and suffusing it with this valuable information.

Male Victims Don’t Cry: Real Men=No Pain!

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the misconception that there are fewer male victims of abuse and trauma. He argues that men are equally as likely to be victims of narcissistic abuse and other forms of abuse as women, but they are victimized differently. Men are less likely to admit to being victimized and traumatized due to societal perceptions of weakness and vulnerability. There is an attribution error in society where women are seen as victims without blame, while men are often blamed for their abuse. This asymmetry makes it difficult for men to come forward and share their experiences of trauma and abuse.

Why God Allows Narcissistic Abuse, Evil Psychopaths? (Theodicy, God Cycle, Lecture 1)

The text discusses the relationship between evil, God, and narcissism. It explores various philosophical perspectives on evil, God's role in allowing evil, and the nature of narcissism. The text also delves into the concept of free will, the medicalization of evil, and the limitations of human understanding of God. The author raises questions about the existence and nature of God, and the implications of medicalizing behaviors traditionally associated with sin or wrongdoing.

NOT Alpha Males: Narcissists and Psychopaths

Sam Vaknin, a professor of psychology, discusses the concept of the alpha male in scholarly research. He critiques the misinterpretation of alpha males by groups like MGTOW and Incels, and emphasizes the importance of distinguishing alpha males from narcissists and psychopaths. He also delves into topics such as script analysis, the Johari window, and the characteristics of alpha males. He emphasizes the importance of empathy, collaboration, and self-awareness in true alpha males.

When Suggestible Patient Pleases Therapist (Conference Presentation)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the impact of suggestibility and mimicry in therapy, particularly in patients with personality disorders. He emphasizes the need for therapists to maintain boundaries and avoid colluding with patients in forming shared fantasies. The text also delves into the concepts of transference and countertransference, and the potential for corruption and compromise in therapeutic relationships. Vaknin stresses the importance of humility and the therapist's role as a service provider rather than a figure of authority.

Are You Paranoid or Just Hypervigilant?

Professor Vaknin discusses the differences between hyper-vigilance, paranoid ideation, and conspiracism. He explains that hyper-vigilance is a common post-trauma response, while paranoid ideation involves persistent suspiciousness and beliefs of being persecuted. Conspiracism is the tendency to find patterns in facts and interpret them to fit a pattern, often leading to the development of conspiracy theories. These reactions can be triggered by trauma and are not necessarily indicative of mental illness. Vaknin suggests countering these tendencies by focusing on what is likely rather than what is possible and ruling out implausible scenarios.

Embrace Nothingness: Help God Heal

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of God and evil, arguing that God is a complex character and that mental illness is a precondition for creativity and creation. He suggests that humans are products of God's own dissociation and that the task of humans is to help God to heal by reintegrating themselves with him. The text explores the problem of evil and questions whether God is indifferent or malevolent, and whether free will and the ability to choose evil is a sadistic act. Ultimately, the text suggests that as we heal individually and collectively, so does God.

COVID-19: Good News and is God Evil for Allowing It to Happen? (LAST MINUTE)

The text discusses the problem of evil and the concept of God's omnipotence and omniscience. It argues that if God exists, his mind is inaccessible to humans and that we cannot fathom his intentions or reasoning. The text also explores the idea of free will and the role of humans in fighting evil. It concludes by suggesting that it is up to individuals to take responsibility for their actions and shape the world they live in.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy