As experts struggle to explain mass murderer’s Steven Paddock’s motive for shooting hundreds of concertgoers on Oct. 1, that tells me one thing I know well from my training as a psychiatrist and forensic profiler.
The key to this case can be found in Paddock’s’s unconscious mind where his motives are buried. Unable to face the deeper pain that drove his rage, Paddock himself could not tell us his real motives. Only his unconscious can do that. Few know how specifically the vast unconscious speaks, but it does.
Dr. Reid Meloy, a California-based forensic psychologist noted that mass murders normally have a grievance but he can’t figure it out or articulate it. Yet the key is knowing how to decode the unconscious. That’s what I do for a living.
From the broken window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, Stephen Paddock was secretly telling the world just how great was his grievance.
Humans all possess a newly discovered deeper unconscious mind: a super intelligence that can speak. My job is to listen, to decipher its symbolic meaning, and use it to understand. In his best-selling book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell described “a dazzling new unconscious” that quick-reads reality in the blink of an eye but speaks only through instincts.
But long before Blink’s publication in 2005, a genius psychiatrist discovered in therapy how clearly this “see all” super intelligence speaks verbally. It secretly patterns symbolic messages in code between the lines of conscious communication. It speaks in images, stories and projections—far brighter and faster than our conscious mind. I validated this discovery in clinical research and in my book, The Deeper Intelligence.
I also decode unconscious messages from criminals who invariably confess their guilt between the lines. This led to my new forensic profiling method, “thoughtprint decoding.”
As a therapist I decode messages from severe emotional trauma victims, people like Stephen Paddock. Such people consciously bury the real meaning of their trauma. Nevertheless, the trauma remains constantly frozen in the back of their minds. It’s as if the threat of the trauma’s reoccurrence remains there, deep in their unconscious. It’s an unconscious post-traumatic stress disorder.
Stephen Paddock tells his story in secret projections which explains his rage.
Paddocks’ imagery in his last communications to his live-in girlfriend, Marilou Danley, contained significant subliminal communication about his motives. These are crucial overlooked communications to the closest person on earth to him at the time.
After her FBI interview Danley said that Paddock told her: “I want you to take a trip home to see your family. I found a cheap ticket to the Philippines.”
Symbolically, “take a trip home to see your family” strongly implies a projection that he is unconsciously thinking about his own traumatic past home life. Just prior to mass murder, he is taking a trip down bad memory lane. Immediately this points to his horrific trauma from the sudden, totally out of the blue, family-destroying trip his bank robbing, criminal father took him on at a very early age. A trip that never ended, that he deeply buried.
Secretly he implies the shocking realization, “I was just a cheap ticket to my father, of no value, degraded by him. He was more concerned about money and robbing banks than me, and robbing me of a father.”
He also sent his girlfriend money on her trip “to buy your family a house.” Read his projection: “I deeply wished my father had bought us a permanent house, provided a stable family.” Instead, he was deeply cheated, robbed of a home. Paddock had often nurtured kids and neighbors as he wished he had been nurtured.
Paddocks’ father-son relationship—the mental trip home where it started
A brief picture of his father-son relationship shows just how severe his wounds were— the deepest grievance imaginable he had kept secret since age 7.
Just out after six years in prison, his jailbird father married in 1952, had son Stephen in 1953 and was immediately sent back to prison on a three-year stretch. It was a total abandonment of his son. Out of jail in 1956, father and mother then moved away, changed names and began a new life. Masquerading for four years as an ideal father and husband having three more sons, his father had a generous larger-than-life side. It would have been a huge salve for Stephen’s earlier father abandonment—now he had the perfect father.
Secretly his father then committed a series of armed bank robberies. Suddenly arrested in Las Vegas during which he attempted to murder an FBI agent, his father never returned home and would never be seen again by Stephen. Overnight his idealized father was gone and serving a 20-year sentence.
Stephen age 7 experiences shocking massive father deception, total abandonment again, a violent dangerous father who carried a gun and nearly murdered. And, of course, inordinate personal shame.
Unconsciously he experiences his father as totally destroying his life—a murderous attack.
Neighbors were shocked and tried to keep the truth from Stephen, but he knew. His mother immediately moved to California and told the boys their father had died. No grieving, no father, tons of fear and shame, and instructed to keep it all secret, but Stephen knows inside. Old enough to remember the police coming to his house that fateful day. He buries his trauma deeper and deeper.
But he would always associate the moment of utter deception and final abandonment by his father with Las Vegas, Nevada.
Eventually his father escapes from prison becoming one of the ten most wanted dangerous men in America for nearly a decade. But Stephen already knew just how dangerous he could be.
Back To His Girlfriend
In the end he treated his girlfriend as his criminal father treated him. Subtly ordering his girlfriend to go away implies again how his father abandoned him, sent him away.
Then, violently abandoning her by suicide he again repeats his father’s behavior as he experienced it–a violent symbolic suicide.
His girlfriend provided another hint. Since he gave her money to buy a house for her family back home, she thought Paddock was planning to break up with her—but denied “he was planning violence against anyone.”
She consciously overlooked the violence he was preparing to inflict on her personally—stark utter abandonment through suicide. But subliminally she recognized Paddock’s unconscious violent message: he was getting ready to symbolically break up with— break—destroy—the one person who had severely abandoned and wounded him so long ago. He was looking to retaliate symbolically against his bank robbing father who had abandoned his family overnight. Her super-intel had picked up the secret.
Dragging her into the horror of his murderous behavior reveals he experienced his father’s behavior as repeat murderous attacks.
Sudden abandonment, loss of home, poverty, shame, and in the back of his mind continually a Top Ten Most Wanted dangerous father are experienced as symbolic murders deep down. Read “my father killed me in so many different ways—and my brothers and mother. Robbed us repeatedly daily.”
Just as Paddock reenacted his father’s symbolic suicide on his girlfriend, he reenacted his father’s secret murderous rage toward him on his mass murder victims that night.
When Paddock kept killing and wounding hundreds of innocent concertgoers—unconsciously he was looking at his abusive father. He shot him over and over, shouting out his unbearable unconscious secret: his father had destroyed him as if he had shot him a thousand times with his repeated abandonments and abuse. He was inflicting his deep haunting sense of being a cheap ticket on all his cheap ticket victims at the concert.
Carrying out his mass murder in Las Vegas suggests an unconscious flashback to his father’s shocking arrest in that city, the massive deception, and final abandonment. Stephen never saw him again. His father destroyed him in Vegas and he would repay him in Vegas in a mass murder rage. Revisiting the precise moment of his father’s maximum betrayal.
Signs of Slippage
There were signs of Paddock’s regression. When he fell on something slippery in a casino in 2012 and sued, he suggests his slippery family framework that did violence to him—couldn’t hold him up any longer. He complained about a damaged hamstring suggesting how his father trauma had hamstrung him his entire life. Feeling deeply wounded and entitled he suggests he was beginning to slip mentally already. During his deposition he alluded to losing his wits. He said rarely drank alcohol when he gambled, because “at the stakes I play, you want to have all your wits about you, or as much wit as I have.”
Around 2015 he began to publicly berate his girlfriend as his father had degraded him.
In 2016 immediate family events triggered his further regression dealing with his father’s abuse: his aging mother turned 90 creating another impending “abandonment” and reminding him of his father’s great abandonment/ abuse. He also carried a deep grievance toward her for having to bury his pain and anger. And for enabling such a father.
Stephen Paddock, a man known for never getting angry, had cracked and retaliated in kind in a moment of calculated unmitigated rage. Just as his father was constantly calculating another crime, another robbery—toying with his family over and over.
Final explosion: ‘Feel my pain’
Paddock’s final explosion is a symbolic behavioral confession and story of motives—of his deep grievances. It’s a story of severe father-son abuse at a level we cannot comprehend. Paddock made others feel his severe pain to avoid his own unconscious pain. He massacred strangers as he felt massacred by his father—it was that severe deep down.
He also identified with his father described as “a larger-than-life outlaw.” Paddock both surpassed his father in his rage—“a larger than life mass murderer outlaw”—to shame his father in return and to punish himself for doing so simultaneously.
This is Stephen Paddock’s story: Father destroyed/murdered him deep down. He wanted to murder father as payback. He then re-enacted it on others and finally suicided because of guilt. The great abuse three-step. It’s so powerful, only the unconscious super intelligence can tell us the truth about it in its metaphoric messages.
He’s still responsible but understanding tells us why he exploded.