Charles Manson is in fact one of the most widely known serial killers of our
time. He can easily be considered the boogey man of society. Many people still
to this day fear him and his past, yet now an old man in a prison cell, one may
wonder what created such a monster. In learning about personality I thought that
it would be interesting to apply some of the concepts that we have learned from
the text and in class to a certain individual. I have no idea why in the end I
chose Charles Manson.
I think maybe it is because of his tragic life before the
murders, a life that most people don’t know about. Mason was the illegitimate
son of Kathleen Maddox, a 16-year-old prostitute. Manson had no contact what so
ever with his father (ATWL.com). The first thing to point out is Alfred Adler’s
point of view on Birth Order. Adler believed that the order in which you were
born influenced your personality.
Manson was the first born. Adler says that the
first born may become authoritarian or strict. Feels power is his right. The
first is usually a problem child, a neurotic, criminal, drunkard, and a pervert.
Knowing Manson’s future in crime it is interesting how Adler’s theory fits in
(Stein). Another thing is that Manson never had any sort of a relation ship with
his mother or his father.
His mother would often take off and leave him with
strangers. Once she even traded him for a pitcher of beer at a local pub (Bugliosi
20-22). Ainsworth and her colleagues developed three types of parent-child
relationships. Manson undoubtedly would fit into the last category : Avoidant
relationships. In this type of a relationship the mother doesn’t respond to her
child’s needs, the baby is neglected. It therefor develops a sense of
worthlessness and possible anger towards authoritative figures (Burger 162-163).
According to Erikson one can either develop a sense of basic trust or a sense of
basic mistrust. If the mother is avoidant as in Manson’s case the child will
most likely develop a sense of mistrust. This will lead to a life of
estrangement and withdrawal (Burger 117). Manson’s life continued to be one
crime after another. He was arrested for several instances where he stole cars
and committed robberies. In prison he attacked another prisoner with a razor
blade and continued to sodomize him (Bugliosi 67).
Freud may have seen this as
frustration of the libido. Which in turn, causes aggression. This may also
explain the act of sodomization against the other prisoner (Burger 153). Karen
Horney would most likely have seen Charles Manson as one who Moves against
people. It is way that she believed a group of people handled their anxiety. To
act aggressively may help deal with a poor home environment.
They compensate for
feelings of inadequacy by pushing other individuals around (Burger 125-125).
During the summer of love Manson appealed to those who where like him in many
ways. In fact many of the girls that became familiar with Manson saw him as a
Father figure. Most of them, if not all developed sexual relationships with
Manson. He was known as the father of the cult (Bugliosi 111-125). Freud may
have seen something a bit like the Oedipus complex here.
The Oedipus complex is
named after a mythological figure who knowingly married his mother. Although
they were not biologically related, Freud may have argued that they were in need
of the father figure in their lives (Donadio). One could also say that Manson
ruled in an authoritarian manner. During the years in his cult he convinced
other members that he was godlike. He also made them go on a horrible killing
spree. According to Erich Fromm this is the tendency to ⌠fuse one’s self
with somebody or something outside of oneself in order to acquire the strength
which the individual self is lacking■ (Fromm, p.
163). ⌠I believe
Evilness and self-loss are as real as are goodness and aliveness. They are the
secondary potentialities of man if he chooses not to realize his primary
potentialities■ (Fromm 145-152). Fromm believed that exceptionally is a
man born as a saint or as a criminal. He thought that most of us have
dispositions for good and for evil, although the respective weight of these
dispositions varies with individuals. Hence, out fate is largely determined by
those influences which mold and form the given dispositions.
He believed that
the family is the most important influence. But that .