Joyce Dahmer mother Jeffrey Dahmer

What happened to Joyce Dahmer? The mother of serial killer cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer

Both of Jeffrey’s parents blamed themselves for his killings

The mother of Jeffrey Dahmer, Joyce Dahmer, found out her son was a serial killer at the same time as the rest of the world but what happened to her? In Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story we learn a lot about Joyce and her battle with her mental health. Back in 1991 her son admitted to necrophilia, cannibalism and murder and she, like Jeffrey’s father, partly blamed herself. Here’s everything you need to know about Joyce Dahmer, her relationship with Jeffrey and death.

Who was Joyce Dahmer?

Joyce Dahmer was the mother of Jeffrey Dahmer and his younger brother David. She was born in Wisconsin in February 1936 and married Lionel Dahmer in 1960.

In Lionel Dahmer’s memoir, A Father’s Story, he debates answers about what he and Joyce could have done differently to prevent their son becoming a serial killer. Lionel admits to being absent during his son’s childhood but also claims Joyce was given prescription drugs while pregnant with Jeffrey Dahmer.

In his memoir, Lionel also claims Joyce refused to touch Jeffrey when he was born due to her fear of getting any germs on him. He also alleges she became dependent on those prescription drugs.

Joyce Dahmer battled mental illness when raising Jeffrey and David

It has been said Joyce never fully recovered from the guilt that overcame her after her son’s murders came to light. Joyce suffered from depression and was a hypochondriac. She apparently spent a lot of time in bed and needed a lot of attention, often using sleeping medication.

In 1978, Joyce was discovered to be romantically involved with someone so she and Lionel got divorced after 19 years of marriage. Joyce moved to California with their son David.

Joyce Dahmer saw herself as responsible for Jeffrey

Joyce argued against her ex-husband’s theory that there were warning signs or her son was shy. In an interview with MSNBC she said Jeffrey was a “perfectly normal young boy”.

In 1993 in an interview with Deseret News she said: “I wake up every morning hardly knowing I’m Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother for a split second, and then it all pours in.” Then in 1994 she also said she felt the need to reach out to other parents and family members of murderers who might feel the same type of grief and blame as her. She told the outlet she had plans to write a book about her side of raising a serial killer but she couldn’t find a publisher who was interested.

Joyce Dahmer attempted to die by suicide but survived

As shown in the Netflix series, Joyce Dahmer felt awful for what her son had done. At one point she tried to end her own life. She switched on her gas oven and left the door open just months before her son Jeffrey Dahmer was murdered. However she survived the attempt and afterwards she expressed gratitude for having lived.

She passed away in 2000

At the age of 64, Joyce Dahmer passed away from breast cancer.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Julio Mastro, the executive director of the HIV community centre where Joyce worked, said: “She was enthusiastic, and she was compassionate, and she turned her own tragedy into being able to have a great deal of empathy for people with HIV.”

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is now streaming on Netflix. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Featured image via Netflix.

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