Studies have shown that unstable families are the number one causes for serial killers. Studies suggest that 60% of psychopathic individuals had lost a parent. The majority of serial killers have also been deprived of love or nurturing, parents are detached or absent, the child received inconsistent discipline, if father is stern and mother is soft, and hypocritical parents who privately belittle the child while publicly presenting the image of a "happy family".
Ed Gein, the inspiration of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Buffalo Bill, is an example of this. Ed Gein lived on a small rural farm with his mother Augusta Gein. She wanted to prevent outsiders from influencing her son. The only time Ed left the premises was to go to school. Most of the time he was doing chores on the farm. Augusta Gein was a strict Lutheran. She would preach to her sons about the evil of drinking, immorality of the world, and that all women, except herself, were prostitutes or instruments of the devil. She often saved time in the afternoon to read passages of the bibles, often dealing with violence and murder, to her sons.
Ed Gein's father was almost totally absent from his life. His mother constantly abused Gein and his siblings, telling them that they were destined to be failures "just like their father." Because of all these pressures, Gein never developed very good social skills. The only friends he had were his brothers on the farm. Despite her horrible treatment, Gein became extremely depressed when she died in 1940. Gein came from a very unstable family which might have been one of the catalysts to him becoming one of the most famous serial killers.