He started messing with the Christmas tree, telling me how nice the Christmas tree was. So I shot him.

— David Bullock
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Jeffrey Dahmer’s Childhood


Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer came into the world at 4.34pm on the 21st of May at the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital in Milwaukee 1960. While Jeffrey was still very young his father worked long hours in his laboratory and his mother worked as a teletype machine instructor. But the carrying of Jeffrey had been hard on Joyce Dahmer and every little thing seemed to annoy her. So Lionel being the husband that he was and wanting the best for his wife they moved to his mothers house in West Allis, but the crack’s in the marriage started to show early. There were constant fights between Joyce and Lionel Dahmer and Jeffrey took each of these fights to heart.

A short time before Jeffrey’s fourth birthday, Jeffrey was diagnosed with a double hernia that needed to be operated on. This operation left Jeffrey feeling open and exposed nobody explained to Dahmer what was going on. He felt scared by the operation, complete strangers coming up to him and exploring his body. This experience is said to have marked his subconscious forever.

By the time Jeffrey turned six his mother gave birth to a second son who she called David. Though this did not have a dramatic effect on Dahmer’s life he stayed pretty much neutral to his brothers existence and they never became close. They then moved to Ohio.

In 1968 he was sexually molested by a neighbor boy in rural Bath Township. Unreported at the time, the childhood incident may play a pivotal role in understanding Dahmer’s subsequent crimes; likewise, the ferocious arguments between his parents (later divorced) clearly demonstrated to Dahmer that home was no safe haven for a child.
By age 10, Dahmer was experimenting with dead animals: decapitating rodents, bleaching chicken bones with acid, nailing a dog’s carcass to a tree and mounting its head on a stake. His parents worried but figured it was just a boy thing.

When Jeffrey started high school, everybody tried to keep their distance from him. They thought he was kind of strange because of the way he would talk and because he had a very short temper. After a while he learned that if he could drink with the best of them, he would fit in. He knew that if he would act different, such as creating a scene in a public place, people would watch him and he would be getting attention. Soon after, he became very dependent on alcohol and drank heavily every day. Jeffrey would like to trace around bodies with chalk on the class room floor. When he started doing this, his classmates knew that he was a little more than just odd. Jeffrey was an average student, he had some weak subjects but he also was very good in others. On June 1978, Jeffrey graduated from Revere High School.

In 1978, during Dahmer’s senior year, his parents’ poisonous marriage finally came to an end. The couple split up, going their separate ways. Jeffrey took the divorce hard, as most children do. At this time Jeffery was eighteen so the court didn’t decide which parent he would live with. Lionel and Joyce were fighting over who would get custody of David. This enraged Jeffrey because once again he felt unwanted, like they didn’t care where he lived. To him he just saw it as being abandoned by his own parents. It ended up that Joyce got full custody of David and they moved to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Jeffrey stayed in the same house in Bath Township and his father was nowhere to be found. Dahmer was left alone in the house with nothing but his increasingly deranged fantasies.