chapter  20
14 Pages

The Evil Self of the Serial Killer: Annette Lachmann and Frank M. Lachmann

Serial murders are sharply distinguished from ordinary murders. Motivations for ordinary murders are extremes of humanly understandable motivations, such as greed, jealousy, revenge, gain in status, power, or prestige, rage, or self-defense. To want to act murderously is within the range of our fantasy or wishes. However, a serial killer deliberately kills strangers, for no apparent motive, except fulfillment of a private fantasy (Lachmann and l..achmann, 1994). Previously, we discussed the motivation for the serial killings in terms of specific fantasies of total control over another person, "to redress ... painful early experience by reversing roles, temporarily revitalizing deadened feelings, and momentarily restoring a traumatically depleted sense of self" (p. 22). When the intended victim of the serial killer behaves so as to shatter the fantasy, the serial killer loses his resolve and the victim might then escape. To Fromm (1973), for whom evil consisted of the total domination and subjugation of another person, we added an absence of "humanly understandable" motives and a specific rigidly organized fantasy as attributes that make the serial killer the personification of evil.