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Before the Murders: A Chilling Glimpse into Jeffrey Dahmer’s Childhood 

Even as a child, Dahmer’s life was troubled…

jeffrey dahmer dahmer on dahmer a serial killer speaks
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  • Photo Credit: Oxygen

This post is brought to you in partnership with Oxygen. 

Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks debuted on Oxygen in 2017, offering an insider look at this frightening serial killer’s life through the eyes of Nancy Glass, the woman Jeffrey Dahmer confided in most. 

Jeffrey Dahmer is one of America’s most famous serial killers who killed 17 adult men and young boys between 1978 and 1991. Oxygen’s two-night special premiered on November 11, and was packed with revelatory details about the Dahmer case. Yet the special also takes an in-depth look at the man behind the murders—in particular, his upbringing in Ohio and Dahmer’s troubled relationship with his mother, Joyce Dahmer. Could there be a connection between Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood and his later killings?

jeffrey dahmer dahmer on dahmer a serial killer speaks
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  • Photo Credit: Oxygen

Joyce Dahmer

By the time she got pregnant, Joyce Dahmer was working as a teletype machine instructor. The special reveals that Joyce Dahmer struggled with mental illness while pregnant with Jeffrey. In addition to being a hypochondriac, she also suffered from depression. She was on a heavy pill rotation at the time, consuming 27 pills every day—from antidepressants to growth hormones and Progesterone. 

Many wonder: could Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother’s regimen have contributed to his future life of violence? 

Shari Dahmer, Jeffrey Dahmer’s stepmother, broaches the subject in Dahmer on Dahmer. 

She appears prominently in the special, speaking publicly about the Jeffrey Dahmer case for the first time in over 10 years. Shari notes that she discussed Joyce Dahmer’s pill regimen with doctors, who suggested that the prescriptions Joyce took while pregnant could have impacted the fetus.

Jeffrey Dahmer's childhood

Shari also shines a light on Jeffrey’s life as a newborn as well as Joyce’s conflicted relationship with her infant son. 

“When Jeff was born, the grandparents were not allowed to hold the baby,” Shari says during the special. “Joyce didn’t want anyone touching the baby, or breathing on it. She was afraid of germs.” Lionel, Jeffrey Dahmer’s father, confirms this detail. According to him, Joyce Dahmer rarely touched Jeffrey as an infant, except to change the child’s diaper or hold him for a photo. Watch the chilling clip below. 

Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks features exclusive interviews that retrace Dahmer’s footsteps and raise intriguing questions about one of the most shocking serial murder cases in recent history. In addition to archival footage of the killer himself, the special also features interviews with law enforcement officials, surviving Dahmer victims, and Dahmer’s father and stepmother. 

Mark your calendars, true crime obsessives—and prepare to dive inside the mind of a killer.

Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks premiered in November of 2017. You can watch both Part One and Part Two on Amazon, streaming now.

Feature photo: Courtesy of Oxygen