Delhi reports another gruesome case of mutilation and murderous assault: How does the mind of such a killer take shape?

Why are we so alarmed and shocked by the horrific cases of mutilation and criminal assault that are reported in a flurry of media? That’s because when we read or hear news that is contrary to what is normal for us and that demonstrates actions that challenge our beliefs about what can or should be, it can lead to significant internal conflict and spark our curiosity. However, such incidents are an indication of what we may have overlooked in our associations with fellow humans.

One of the most important things to understand is the lack of empathy we show to each other that can deeply affect some minds. Emotional and psychological experiences shape the mind of the abuser. So if the person feels alienated and lacks communication skills, then violence often becomes a tool to get noticed. Such behavior may have been evident even before a very aggressive and violent action was implemented, but the people around the perpetrator did not notice or address it. Such loners may, over a longitudinal period of time, have shown a challenge in understanding or disregarding how their actions might affect others.

An additional aspect in such situations tends to be a lack of guilt and remorse on the part of the killer/aggressor due to the results of the resulting situation. Such individuals, because of their inability to empathize, do not experience the kind of guilt that would result when others around them are affected or hurt. This means that they tend to engage in increasingly aggressive acts that do not take into account the impact on people. Because of the lack of this feedback mechanism within the individual, they are unlikely to take action to bring about a change in their actions. It results in an escalation of the situation and the person continues to engage in being aggressive and violent.

People can have very different reactions when results don’t go their way, aggression being a shortcut. Violence in a relationship is usually the result of a lack of sensitivity and an adaptive and accommodating mechanism between two people or within family members. Frustration and insecurity build up and the offender becomes increasingly desensitized to the impact their behavior has on others. And with the cinematic projection of similar acts of violence as justified, the killer might just internalize this as doing the right thing.

It is also important to note that often such individuals may not have meaningful meaningful relationships in which there is trust. This would have otherwise developed their ability to see alternative approaches. The person may not have a substantial support system and may also feel lonely and isolated. Even if the aggressive acts of the offender become visible to those around him, it can cause people to withdraw from them, isolating him even more. This can further fuel the troubled mind’s negativity about people and the world, apart from eliminating the possibility that someone can step in and bring about a change in the actions the person is engaging in.

It should also be remembered that a person does not become excessively violent or aggressive overnight. There must have been previous cases where they cheated others and cheated people. Even in such cases, the attacker focuses on results. These people may actually have the ability to put up a front or fa├žade that can manipulate others and prevent them from admitting that something is wrong. They may have shown other behaviors such as substance use or were absent in their actions during their early years of growth.

At the end of the day, identifying troubling patterns and behavior that occur early in personality development is critical. Observing them and taking corrective remedial action is a must.

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