Mass Murderers - Personality Types

Episode 5.1 / Mass Murderers-Personality Types 

Humans kill because we're not dispassionate, robotic beings. We have wants and needs and possess the ability to pursue them. Let’s look at the definitions below of several types of personalities that have been derived from crimes. The below list was compiled by Laurence Miller, Ph.D., who is a clinical and forensic psychologist and law enforcement educator. 

Chronically Aggressive Individuals are easily frustrated, limited or poor impulse control. Frequently express anger or hostility. Resents authority, defiant with supervisors. May express hostility through “passive-aggressive” behavior. Believes violence and/or aggression are legitimate responses to various interpersonal problems in life (i.e., if someone provokes you, you fight back).Although they might never admit it, pleasure or reinforcement is derived from the expression of anger (i.e., it feels good to blow someone off; it makes you feel alive; it gives you a sense of power).Often display the characteristics of a “stimulus seeker” - they engage in bold, fearless, or reckless behavior and are prone towards substance abuse. Most typically, violence occurs in a situational context: an offense, fight, or disagreement. Sometimes just get carried away in a particular situation (domestic violence, child battering). Less likely to engage in acts of unexpected “explosive” violence. 

The Over-Controlled Hostility Type rarely displays or expresses anger - they don’t cuss or yell and may be offended by such. Emotionally rigid and inflexible: appear to be polite, serious, and sober, rarely “loose” or jocular. Cognitively rigid and inflexible: very strict about interpreting rules; usually go for the letter, rather than the spirit of the law. Morally righteous and upstanding: see themselves as “good people “Often judgmental: see others as “not such good people”. On-assertive or passive; their passivity causes others to take advantage of them. Anger builds up like in a pressure cooker, before they explode. After the violence, people say that they never expected it, “he always seemed like such a nice guy; he was always so quiet”. 

The Hurt and Resentful feel that people walk on them and that they are never treated fairly. When they are passed over, there is always someone else to blame. Things are easier for everyone else: other people get more and have more advantages. They do not accept criticism well. In response to reprimands, they develop grudges, which are sometimes deeply held. They are often whiners and complainers, as a matter of attitude. They wallow in their victimization and are psychologically impotent. Violence occurs because they hold grudges and are “impotent” to deal with their anger in other ways. 

The Traumatized has aggression that occurs in response to a single, massive assault on their identity. Something happens that is potently offensive, absolutely intolerable, and which strips 

them of all sense of personal power. The essence of their existence (or their manhood) will be destroyed if they do not respond. Violence is predictable & preventable. 

The Obsessive is a typically immature and narcissistic individual who demand or crave attention and affection. They absolutely cannot stand to be deprived of desired gratifications, like a baby who cries because mother removes the breast. When deprived of love, they continue crying: repeated phone calls, following the object of their obsession, etc. As frustration continues, they escalate: “dead flowers”, punctured tires, suicide gestures. Violence because: “if I can’t have her, nobody can.” ... or: “if she won’t have me, she won’t have anything.” 

The Paranoid is a jealous type who delusionally believes their lover is unfaithful. The persecuted type who delusionally believes that people are out to get him. Typically engage in behaviors which make their paranoid beliefs come true. Delusions may reach the point at which the person is grossly out of contact with reality (may be insane). 

The Insane is a very rare case, one who does not understand the nature and quality of their actions. More typical is one who has fundamental misperceptions of reality, incapable of rational behavior, delusional beliefs deprive them of the ability to know that their behavior is wrong, beliefs and perceptions are incongruent with reality. Twisted, psychotic beliefs about what is right, what is wrong, and what is necessary. 

The Just Plain Bad & Angry is a combination of most of the above (except for insane): angry, hostile, jealous, resentful, impotent, and disturbed individuals, who are socially isolated, socially inadequate, and who feel worthless and may be seeking attention and revenge. 

A “normal” person doesn’t just go on a mass murderous rampage. The person who commits these acts have shown similar signs, time and time again. The perpetrators are typically individuals with longstanding histories of contact with the legal, mental health, and/or substance abuse treatment systems. The cycle that leads to the lethal explosion typically begins when an individual experience a build-up of stressors stemming from health, employment, or romantic problems. But the violence-prone individual is typically an externalizer – he’s looking for someone to blame and his reaction often involves a noxious brew of persecutory ideation, projection of fault, and violent revenge fantasies. This is partly due to his general sense of narcissistic entitlement and tendency toward impulsive self-gratification, paradoxically fueled by his self-perceived incompetence to take any real constructive action. As these thoughts and emotions continue to percolate, the individual increasingly isolates himself from the input of others and accretes a mindset of self-justified martyrdom, often leading to hopeless suicidality with a retaliatory tinge: “If they can screw me, I can screw them back – bigtime. Why should other people go on having what they want and enjoying themselves, when I can’t? I may be going out, but I’m not going out alone.” The perpetrator fantasizes that after he’s gone, his Rambo like exploits will be reported to millions of people around the world; his name will be a 

household word. Far from meekly slinking away, our hero will leave this world in a blaze of martial glory, just like in the movies. The operational plan may be executed impulsively and immediately, or it may undergo meticulous planning with numerous revisions. The last step is the violent act itself, which may occur any time from hours to months to years following the final perceived injustice. Vengeance has a long memory. Once again, the firearm is not the problem, the person is the problem. Responsible firearm ownership is a right of all free people.