Eliot Rodger was born on 24th July 1991 in a hospital in London. His father, Peter Rodger, British and mother Chin; Chinese were a photographer and a nurse respectively. After his birth, the parents moved from London to Sussex County where he spent his early childhood, particularly, the first five years. The father continued with his photography profession, and the mother quit her job in nursing to stay home and take care of him. His maternal grandmother Ah Mah came to stay with them whom he spent most of his time with. According to Rodger, his first five years were a time of excitement, discovery, and fun and he enjoyed every part of it. He mentions the events of his third birthday celebration where he got annoyed when one of his friend’s parent cut the first piece of the birthday cake and gave it to the friend instead of him because it was his party. He attended Dorsett House for preschool, a private boys’ school in the countryside near Sussex. When he and his parents moved to Topanga, he joined Topanga Elementary school where he made a few friends.
One of the life changing events in Rodger’s life was when his parents divorced when he was seven years old just after he had completed his First Grade. His father stayed at their old round house, and the mother moved smaller house in Topanga where Elliot and his sister Georgina spent most of the time (Rodger, 10). This filled him with sadness as he knew that the happy family times they had when the parents were together had come to an end. In Elliot’s early life, he lived in a fantasy and experienced apparent ego issues. Apparently, Elliot’s father moved in with his new girlfriend Soumaya whom Elliot did not like and later became his stepmother.
When Elliot hit puberty, his entire life took a drastic change; he felt that his puberty stage was unique (Rodger, 39). This is the stage where low self-esteem and the excessive obsession and women phobia that would later affect him started developing. Unlike other adolescents, he was afraid of girls because of a previous experience he had with a girl who pushed him on bumping into her at a camp (Rodger, 32). Elliot believed that the degree of a man’s worthiness was determined by women, being embraced by women meant that a man was to be respected. He attributes his troubled youth on the failure to get sex at puberty. Rogder became socially withdrawn and would spend most of his time playing games which negatively affected him and at fifteen he had to be kept out of school as he had alleviated to emotional pain and suffering because of being bullied.
Elliot’s bitterness and hatred towards sex and women intensified as he was approaching adulthood. To Elliot, it was an injustice that his friend Max Bonon was from a wealthy family and had an active sex life which he had never experienced (Rodger, 55). As a young adult, he felt that many people had undeservedly been given an opportunity for pleasure through sex whereas he was denied such opportunity. He came up with an ideology that if he could not have sex or attention from women, he was going to destroy the injustices (Rodger, 57). However, he was forced to move to Morocco and live with his stepmother Soumaya, a move that he did not appreciate. He stayed there for a week and went back to America where he enrolled at a college at eighteen. The stepmother later came back from Morocco and threw Elliot out of his father’s house, a scenario where he says his father was too weak to defend him.
In Moorepark College Elliot did not receive the women attention he wanted and systematically started dropping classes. He tried to get a job to make money as he feared his parents would stop supporting him but he quit after a few hours. Notwithstanding, his parents took him to Santa Barbara college where stayed in Isla Vista apartments (Rodger, 83). Here Elliot switched classes whenever he liked a girl, and she was not interested in him. Seeing other students enjoying sexual and intimacy life traumatized him. He was even baffled when a young black man said that he had had sex and considered women to be mentally flawed for not choosing him, the magnificent gentleman(Rodger, 90). He was filled with rage when he saw a blonde woman with her boyfriend at Starbucks where he followed them and poured coffee on them then ran away. In another scenario, he splashed coffee on two girls who never returned his smile at a bus stop. He repeatedly attacked people in public which he termed as revenge.
Elliot simplified his life into two options, to either win the lottery or kill himself after he has had revenge on the world. Following depressing emotional breakdowns because of losing a lottery, Elliot’s parents sent him to a psychiatrist. Though he was professionally advised to leave Santa Barbra he remained there and started to plan for mass killing. According to his manifesto, his first phase of his retribution in on 26tgh April 2014 was in Santa Barbara where he would kill his two roommates before proceeding to the nearby sorority house and then head to his father’s house to kill his young brother Jazz and the stepmother. However, he postponed his mission to May top avoid killing his father and on 23rd May, he executed his mission by killing six people and injuring fourteen others before shooting himself to death.
The various milestones that Elliot experienced triggered anger in him and are attributed to his life events and eventual violence. His jealous nature consumed him as early as nine years old when he could get jealous when his friend James paid more attention to others than him and when his girlfriend Maddy played with Georgia instead of him. All these frustrated and angered him as he always felt left out and all he could do was to cry and worry about him. Elliot’s attempt to lose his virginity at twenty-two years in a party landed him into more problems. All the girls rejected him, he grew angry and started pushing women off the ledge where a group of men intervened and beat him up resulting in a broken ankle (Rodger, 122). He says that was the last chance he gave women to love him and since they had not reciprocated he was going to launch a war against them. Elliot’s early exposure to pornography, loneliness and bullying back in school highly contributed to his increased sex drive. Though Elliot does not explain much why his parents continuously decided to change schools, the parents’ notice of his psychological trauma could have been one of the reasons.
The substantial economic loss suffered by Elliot’s father could also have been one of the reasons why he decided to switch Elliot from a private school to a cheaper public school. The parents did not inspire their son to study perhaps because they thought because of his psychiatric problems he would not be able to excel academically. All this led to Elliot’s perception of school as an antisocial realm and not a place to learn and have personal development, especially in career. Additionally, Soumaya’s attitude towards Elliot profoundly affected him because it worsened the feeling of him being unwanted and it made him resent women more. She even went ahead to boast about her son Jazz, about how he is better than Elliot and how by the time he is Elliot’s age he was going to be a successful actor (Rodger, 127). Notably, this triggered him even to plan to kill the stepmother and his stepbrother Jazz. Elliot’s fury towards women led him into joining misogynistic websites, a move that made his father outrageously tell him to leave such sites. Even though his father talked him into believing that there was nothing wrong with being twenty-two and a virgin, that never worked as he was so filled with the sexual desire.
In conclusion, after reading Elliot’s manifesto, his life did not have to turn the way it did. Clearly, he suffered a severe social anxiety and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The kind of life he was exposed to since birth put him in a comfort zone in that he had no concept for work leading him to become self-indulgent and lazy. However, if his parents had been keener with his behavior when he was younger, they could have helped him out of the shyness. Likewise, the parent’s should not have let their divorce affect their son that much; moral support was more needed than financial support. Also, Peter Rodger should have considered his son first before letting his second wife mistreat him.
Rodger, Elliot. “My Twisted World the Story of Elliot Rodger.”