Its All About Abandonment
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Eric C. Hanson - Treatment Issues
By: J. Ray Rice, M.S.W., A.C.S.W.
It is my experience that all communications (verbal and non-verbal; written and oral) and human interactions (real or perceived; verbal or physical) or the lack of communications, and the lack of human interactions have the ability to cause us to feel or experience feelings and acts of abandonment. This is why…its all about abandonment! Accepting and operating on this knowledge base gives each of us the ability, on a conscious level, to be aware of the impact of our communications and relationships on others. This level of understanding must be applied across the board by clinicians, parents, teachers, and caregivers.


Let us apply this knowledge base of…its all about abandonment to examine Eric C. Hanson’s mental illness. This contributed to the development of his pathology that led to him committing Quadruple Family Murder in September of 2005.

If we can examine and respond to all communications and interactions with others in terms of abandonment experiences and issues, we would understand how to communicate more effectively and decrease people’s misconceptions.

Let us start with Eric’s diagnosis of Narcissistic personality disorder. If you examine each of the signs and symptoms that are used to diagnosis this mental illness, you will see that each sign of this mental illness is seem and intercepted by the individual as abandonment issues or experiences. I learned early in my professional development that all behaviors have meaning. If we can understand the individuals’ perception of his or her behaviors, then we have not only a knowledge base of the problems, but the solutions that can be applied as well.

Let’s examine each of the signs and symptoms of an individual with a Narcissistic personality disorder through their eyes.

  1. They have the perception and feeling that they are better than others. When they do not receive that acknowledgment from others they feel…abandoned.


  2. They believe that they have the ability to achieve their goals far beyond the capacity of others. When they do not receive the acknowledgment from others of their achievement they feel…abandoned.


  3. They believe that they can exceed their personal goals and tasks in life. When they do not receive the acknowledgment from others of that they have achieved they feel…abandoned.


  4. They believe that others should hail their achievements in life with praises left and right. When they do not receive the acknowledgment of their achievements, they feel that others have…abandoned them.


  5. In their mind, they are special and should be treated that way by everyone. When they do not receive the acknowledgment of their importance then they feel…abandoned.


  6. They do not feel that they should be required to pay attention to how other people feel, period. When they are expected to acknowledge the feelings of others you are taking away their own importance and they feel…abandoned.


  7. They feel that their ideas are not only more important than others are, but are also better. When others do not acknowledge the importance of their superior ideas, they feel…abandoned.


  8. They feel that they are superior so they can do whatever they feel and think that they need to do in order to reach their goals in life. When others do not acknowledge this by pointing out to them that, what they did was wrong they feel…abandoned, because you failed to see or give a positive response.


  9. They feel that everyone else in their life is below them in status. When others try to place themselves on equal or higher ground then them they feel that you discounted their superior importance and they feel…abandoned.

10. They feel that others should not have anything they want or deserve. When
       another person has something they want, they feel that their wants and needs have

11. They feel that other people are jealous of them, because they cannot perform tasks
       as well as they can. When other people criticize them, it is because they are jealous
       of them, thus that person has…abandonment them.

12. They lack the ability to give and take in a relationship. When other individuals do not
       acknowledge them as being correct in their actions, they feel that person has…
       abandoned them

13. They feel that they can do things better than other people and therefore do not set 
       realistic goals. They feel that when other people do not acknowledge their superior
       abilities that person has…abandoned them.

14. They feel rejected and hurt when other people do not give them the credit they feel
       that they deserve and feel…abandoned.

Why is all of this important? We cannot treat what we do not understand. Looking at communication and interactions from the viewpoint of any individual that is diagnosed with a mental illness we can begin to understand how they interpret or misconceive our actions. When we bother to understand how they feel we can assist them better with their anger, before it turns into so much rage and pathology that they murder the people they love, and the people that love them. When we bother to understand that they perceive our normal communications and interactions as acts of abandonment we can do the following.

  • We can understand how individuals with a mental illness are seeing and hearing our communication (verbal and written) (real or perceived).


  • We can assist the individuals to reinterpret our communication correctly, when possible.


  • We can assist the individuals to discuss their angry feelings of abandonment to our communication and interactions.

  • We can assist the individuals to practice and enhance their problem-solving skills that relate to using deductive reasoning.


  • We can assist the individuals to practice and enhance their conflict-resolution skills when they have anger or disagreements.


  • We can assist the individuals to practice expressing their feelings instead of allowing them to store-up and come-out later.


  • We can learn not to react to their behaviors and actions, thus making them worst.


  • We can learn how to provide a therapeutic environment that will enhance them having a “corrective learning experience” in the home and in treatment that enhances their communication skills and decrease their reactions to verbal and non-verbal communication and interactions.

I am not going to rewrite what others have already written, but provide you with the key to understanding the miscommunications and rage from an early age that continued until Eric C. Hanson murdered four members of his family. Remember whenever there is communication and interactions with others…its all about abandonment!



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