Its All About Abandonment
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All Secrets Do Not Go To The Grave
We Cannot Treat What We Do Not Understand!
Copyrighted 1997 by: J. Ray Rice, M.S.W., A.C.S.W.

Friday, July 25, 1997, the front page of The Herald newspaper in Miami, Florida reads, "SECRETS GO TO THE GRAVE." Not all secrets go to the grave. We are still analyzing what factors drove Andrew Cunanan to allegedly killing five individuals (including fashion designer Gianni Versace) and finally himself. Hollywood is in the process of making a movie about Andrew Cunanan. They have released a book on him and the alleged victims. His family members are speaking to the press and telling us what they believe or do not believe or do not believe changed Andrew into a alleged killer. Andrew's brother and sister are in the process of conducting their own investigation into their brother's death and the reasons behind his behaviors and actions. Mrs. Cunanan has identified the correct factor for the actions of her son, unresolved abandonment issues. Mrs. Cunanan said "my son's personality changed when his father abandoned him and the family." How many of us recognized the importance of this factor or accepted it as the major reason for his behavior? I have not seen any articles or coverage by the experts or press on this factor.

Unresolved abandonment issues led Andrew Cunanan into developing his pathology. This same factor is found in the lives, experiences and reactions of Jeffery Dahmer, Jim Jones, John Wayne Gacy, Marshall Applewhite, members of Heaven's Gate, Ted Kacinsky, and Timothy McVeigh, to give some other examples. Look at how each of these individuals and groups developed pathology around their unresolved abandonment issues and experiences. This same element is why people are physically and emotional abusing and murdering their spouse and children everyday. It is a factor in people's behavior when they bomb and kill people over conflicts and beliefs.

How many of us have looked at the fact that we abandoned the British government to form own government? It states in our Declaration of Independence, that if our government tries to withhold our rights we can abandon this government and form a new one. Yet, we are surprised and fail to realize why we have threats of terrorism from within our own country. 

Just look at the Middle East. They keep avoiding resolving the reasons for their behaviors in the first place. Everyone is suffering from unresolved abandonment issues! Until these issues are addressed there cannot be any lasting peace. This is why each reaction of violence is met by another and so on and so on. To act in this manner is self-destructive and only increases everyone's feelings and experiences of abandonment.

To promote policies that are objectionable to your neighbors and then blame them for reacting to your policies is ignoring the common good and acting in a way that is self-destructive for your cause and everyone in the long run. These are not the actions of someone who wants to live. Abandonment acts are a major factor in either the causes or results of war everyday, but how often are the abandonment issues that started the war addressed? 

Abandonment issues are a factor in people killing each other on the job or physically and verbally attacking each other during a strike. It is a factor in workers interpersonal relationships between those who went out on strike and those who did not after the strike has been settled. Left untreated teamwork will suffer. Abandonment issues are a factor in police officers resigning from special duties because they lost out on an opportunity of a lifetime to participate in an event that they were trained to handle. It is also a solution to youths that join gangs when no one else will give them attention or feelings of well-being and caring.

If we do not understand what we are looking at in these behaviors and actions, then we cannot realize what we need to do in order to provide a corrective learning experience in our interpersonal interactions and behaviors. Learning to identify the correct reason for anti-social behaviors will enable us to decrease the threats of violence, abuse, and emotional suffering. When we read about events and behaviors in our local newspaper without fully understanding the causes of the behaviors. We listen to local and national news programs and do not fully understand why people are behaving and acting in the way that they are. We watch our favorite TV programs and movies and fail to see or admit the impact this violence has toward children and adults worldwide. We continue to sell weapons of destruction and after people are killed by their usage we say, "guns do not kill, people do." My answer is why aid them?

Unresolved abandonment issues are seen in everyone's interactions and experiences, but we do not always know what we are looking at or experiencing. By learning to identify this factor we can understand better why we are abusing ourselves and killing each other. If we would understand how this factor affects our society we could recognize the impact it has on everyone's self-esteem and interpersonal interactions. We can plan interventions and reduce the level and threat of violence and emotional harm. All secrets do not go to the grave, and Andrew mother revealed that. 

We have to learn to listen and understand what we are hearing, seeing, and experiencing in a different way in order for us to understand the answers to our questions. If we fail to recognize and accept these facts, we cannot treat what we do not understand and events like these will continue to increase!

The experts and press came-up with the theory that Andrew was possibly suffering from "AIDS Rage?" This was to be the reason for his behaviors and actions. One or more of our governmental agencies even abandoned the law and social policies and reported his negative HIV status to the press and public after his death. Like we had a need to know. He was not on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List because he was going around and sleeping with AIDS. He was allegedly murdering people and that was not a reason to violate his rights and ours. If your rights are denied, my rights are not secured. Again, we abandoned our laws and our social policies, because we wanted to explain what we did not understand.

Andrew's mother identified for all of us that unresolved abandonment issues were the major factor that turned her son into an alleged killed and I praise her for her insight and honesty. On a Hard Copy Edition (08/19/1997), it was reported at the end of the interview that Mrs. Cunanan said "her son's personality changed when his father abandoned him and the family!" This is indicative of the lack of importance placed on understanding the reason for his behaviors and actions. This piece of information was the story, not a by-line at the end. Andrew's friends reported this same reaction during their interview about him, but the press and public kept looking for the factor or reason for his changed in behavior. I wonder how many of us heard this factor and failed to realize that feelings and experiences of abandonment can have such a devastating affect on anyone. Being abandoned by a parent is probably one of the most common and devastating experiences shared by anti-social individuals. This is not to say that everyone who experience abandonment will react this way.

I am from the school of thought that believes that many of the behaviors, actions, wars, killings and abuses that have taken place from the beginning of humankind to the present are being caused, fueled, or ignited by feelings, experiences, and acts of abandonment. Until we understand and accept that we need to be identifying, analyzing and treating people and societies abandonment issues, the destructive impact of these experiences on individuals, families, societies will continue. Unresolved abandonment issues are like missiles looking and waiting for a target. Without this understanding and intervention humankind will continue to be dysfunctional and destroying its most valuable resource...its people. 

"History is repeating itself because only the people are dying,
                                                  not the conflicts and the pain!"

This is the theory base of my book and presentation to the nations of the world at The 5th International Conference on Conflict Resolution, in St. Petersburg, Russia this May. Thank You for Loving Me! The Psychology of Loving and Healing, was written for the purpose of treating unresolved abandonment issues and experiences with individuals, families, groups, and societies. I was first taught and then learned that 
we cannot treat what we do not understand. 

We cannot take someone else to a point or 
                                                   a level that we have not reached ourselves!
                                                   We cannot give what we do not have."

                                                    Thank You for Loving Me! The Psychology of Loving and Healing
Copyright 1997 by J. Ray Rice, M.S.W., A.C.S.W.

My Premises

                                                      A family breaking up,

                                                      The rejection or fear of rejection by one that you love
                                                      And from whom you want the same kind of love and caring returned
                                                      All leaves one feeling abandoned.

                                                      Abandonment and the fear of abandonment are rejection in its highest form.
                                                      It affects each of us.
                                                      What we think of others and ourselves.
                                                      What we feel we can accept and deserve.
                                                      What we feel we can accomplish.

                                                      What we believe others think of us.
                                                      What we allow others to give us.
                                                      How well we treat others and ourselves.

                                                      The degree to which we fear and experience abandonment,
                                                      And how we cope with these feelings,
                                                      Determines how much if any, of a corrective learning experience
                                                      Each of us will consider.


I read that Andrew's brother and sister stated in a telephone interview that their brother's violent behavior was not due to any childhood trauma. They viewed him as the "White Sheep." It would be normal for his siblings to feel abandoned by their parents because of the special treatment that Andrew was given and the neglect that they felt. Sending him to a private school took financial resources away from his siblings.

The events that occurred in Andrew Cunanan's life and other people named have affected them differently from the way they may have affected you or I. Their impact and significance must be understood, acknowledged, and addressed! Remember, we cannot treat what we do not understand. Andrew was a near-genius, as a young child he could read and remember facts from the encyclopedia according to his siblings. His mother looked to him for advice. He was given and held a special place in his family, including the master bedroom in their home. He was the center of attention in his family and social settings. He was abandoned when his father left him and his family. His source of financial support ended and he was not able to continue to live his lifestyle and his leaving affected his self-esteem. His feelings of self-worth were damaged and he dropped out of college and partied. He kept to himself the secret that he was gay for fear of abandonment by his family.

He was abandoned when older gay men were no longer supporting him. He was abandoned when his friend would not allegedly help him sell drugs. He was abandoned when his friend did not want anything to do with him on his trip to visit him in Minnesota. He felt abandoned when his former lover did not want to rekindle their relationship. He may have felt abandoned as he looked around and saw all of the things in life that he wanted and felt that he should have. He may have felt abandoned and felt he should have their life's, so he took their. The same way many spouses think, "That if I cannot have you then no one else will."   

We as individuals, families, communities, and nations of the world, are failing to recognize the gravity and effects of unresolved abandonment issues. Unless we have a paradigm shift in our thinking and understanding of human behavior and take responsibility for the way we conduct our personal affairs and actions, we will continue to reject our children for selfish and misconceive notions of human behavior. Doing so only blocks our knowledge and our ability to resolve issues of abandonment that are destroying us an as individuals, families, communities, and nations. All secrets do not go to the grave, you just have to know where to look!





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