The horrifying headlines about men who kill their entire families and then turn the gun on themselves appear to be intensifying. Katherine van Wormer says the harsh economy may be a factor, but more fundamental may be a distorted notion of manliness.
The research literature, as summarized in our book, shows that the patterns of murder-suicide of a man and his wife or partner are of two basic types.We encourage you to read the entire article.
One involves an elderly couple in which the man is the caretaker of a woman who suffers from dementia. Not wanting to send her to a nursing home and finding himself too frail to care for her himself, he kills them both.
More commonly, the crimes involve an abusive, extremely possessive man. When the woman threatens to leave him, he kills her and himself.
Dominance, explosive violence, jealousy and a pathological fear of rejection by his wife or partner are among the key features of male-on-female domestic homicide that we found in our research.
Common to every single case that I have studied is a precipitating crisis and the failure of the man to call out for help.