Dahmer's mother worked as a teletype machine instructor,  and his father was a student at Marquette University , working towards a degree in chemistry. His father was of German and Welsh ancestry,  and his mother was of Norwegian and Irish ancestry. Lionel's university studies kept him away from home much of the time; when he was home, his wife demanded constant attention. She reportedly worked herself into a state of anxiety over trivial matters simply to appease her husband. On one occasion, Joyce Dahmer attempted suicide from an overdose of the Equanil pills to which she had become addicted. At elementary school, he was regarded as both quiet and timid by his peers.