The Countess Elizabeth Bathory is known in history for being the ruthless noblewoman who had hundreds of slave girls sadistically poked, cut, and bled. She did this out of the belief that their blood would sustain her youth indefinitely. While modern analysis can only begin to scratch the complex psyche of one of history’s most prolific and cruel serial killers, Elizabeth Bathory is suspected by some to have had a rather bad case of social anxiety. This, some theorize, combined with her malignant narcissism and her high social status, had combined to from the figure that many would know as the “Blood Countess.”
Serial killers, according to most recent profiling techniques and psychological developments, tend to suffer from social anxiety. While by no means the only mental condition that marks the mind of a serial killer, social anxiety is nonetheless considered to be one of the more common problems of such people. Other factors, such as signs of sadism, particularly towards animals, are also cited as factors. However, there are elements in the community that believe societal pressures also exert a large effect.
Of course, social anxiety is not entirely uncommon in modern times. In fact, to some degree, most experts believe that everyone has experienced a moment of social anxiety. However, that does not make everyone in the world a potential serial killer. Social anxiety helps make a serial killer, but it is by no means the definitive sign of one. Indeed, there are several psychologists contended that while modern serial killers tend to suffer from this condition, it is arguable whether or not historical killers such as Bathory and Jack the Ripper suffered from it. After all, the fear of society in general, in theory, is a fairly recent phenomenon.
Another point here is that social anxiety may manifest differently in serial killers than from others, especially if combined with a number of other psychological disorders. For example, it was possible that Elizabeth Bathory suffered from a twisted sense of social anxiety as she was frequently obsessing over her appearance. Some recent analysts have theorized that it was not so much her actual appearance that concerned her, and more her standing amongst her fellow aristocrats at the time.
In addition, while there are hardly any pieces of evidence to support this assumption, a small group of people are starting to theorize that Jack the Ripper suffered from a form of social anxiety. There is hardly enough evidence on the Ripper’s psychology to even ascertain whether Jack really was male, much less ascribe his actions to some sort of psychological disorder. Proponents of this assumption put forth that it was possible the Ripper suffered from social anxiety and had difficulty approaching more respectable women. While this is entirely plausible, it is arguable whether someone who could not approach a woman of good social standing would be able to lure a prostitute to her demise without alarming said individual.
In the end, serial killers with social anxiety are claimed to feel powerless amidst modern society’s power structures and individual networks. Perhaps, in the act of capturing, killing, and mutilating their victims, the killers gain some sense of control over their lives and their place in the world. In the end, isn’t knowing where one belongs in the grand hierarchy of things something that everyone seeks? Perhaps, in the end, serial killers are only seeking what everyone else is seeking, albeit in a way that the average person is unable to truly comprehend.
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