We are very honored that Nameless has been implemented into the continuing education class for professional mediators "Manipulation in Mediation" organized by the UMCH - Universitaere Mediation Schweiz (union for mediators with a university degree in mediation in Switzerland) in October 2015.
The feedback of the organizer Alfred Jung was as follows:
The manipulation of both protagonists is well portrayed. The change from the director to the actress comes by surprise - one wouldn't think she were capable of being as manipulative. Her manipulation is "softer" though and more emotional, therefore more intensive and dangerous in my opinion. The change of side shows the dynamic and also increases the tension: For how much longer will the actress endure this? Where are her boundaries? What other arrows has the director in his quiver? And then - change - how will the director react? Will he be influenced? To stop here is perfect because with this ending a big dynamic, tension, commotion, tumultuousness, nervousness and restlessness is left - congratulations.
The feedback of the course participants was:
The film impressed. It concerned and affected the participants. Some of them mentioned that they could hardly endure the tension and that they needed the ending as a "liberating blow." The film left a good echo and was a good fit to the theme of the course according to its participants.
Transcript of interview with Prof. Edit Seidl M.B.A., Mediator IRP-HSG, Economist and Andragogue. Author of the book “Freedom. Myth and Reality in the light of individual considerations” (translation) – original title: „Freiheit. Mythos und Realität im Lichte individueller Betrachtungen“)
Edit: You dove into the depths of human souls. This is very impressive indeed and shows very well how one can resist psychological manipulation. This is very interesting. Really impressive – the different strategies of manipulation – with carrot and stick so to speak – this is actually portrayed very well – as well as the doubts of the actress – how she is torn – after all she is aware that she is being manipulated. First, she tries to defend herself and then she turns the tables on the director. Yes, that is very impressive indeed.
Interviewer: What does that mean to you in respect to freedom?
Edit: To me, that is actually a very positive signal that also the weak one can indeed defend oneself by acquiring and applying the tools of reflection as well as intuition even though in reality the person believes to be in a helpless situation in which one cannot strike back. So that in certain circumstances, one can in fact emerge victoriously from a seemingly hopeless situation. And in that sense, this film is a very good demonstration that freedom is actually something very volatile. Freedom is not something one just possesses – it is not an erratic block – in fact, it is something to be elaborated again and yet again. Of course, it also shows that freedom reaches its limits when it touches somebody else’s freedom. And that is when ethical considerations apply – by saying: my individual freedom is actually limited by the freedom of others – and the more I spread out the more I reduce the freedom of others.
Interviewer: Could you observe such manipulation techniques in your work as a mediator?
Edit: Yes, sure. It struck me again and again that people embody a role – and that the environment perceives that role as such and then this role gets entrenched. In other words: I perceive myself that way – I act out that role – which is then accepted from the outside – and that is the role I have from then on – that is the label I have from then on. And based on that role the others conduct themselves. I observed this over and over – also in the economic field where it is supposed to be about factual questions – but in actuality it is never about factual questions. In a conflict it is always about interpersonal relationships and factual questions are rather the pretense.
Interviewer: Are you saying that a person cannot get out of a role he or she has been squeezed into, or in other words, out of a role that has been established?
Edit: I think that depends on the person. If one suffers in that role – there are also thousands of people who are happy with the role they portray – in fact, that is the normal case – but in case of a conflict – or in case of a problem - one might not be happy with that very role any more – then, the first thing is to become aware that one is playing a role – and to sit down in a quiet moment and ask oneself “who am I after all? Am I really the person I portray to be towards the outside?” It is predominantly visible by the reaction of the other people – in reality one is mirrored by others – it is very difficult to recognize oneself without the feedback of others. And this, of course, is the first step – to become aware that one plays a role, which one does not want to play. At that point, one has to ask oneself: “why am I doing this for years and do I really need that?” That is when one might discover events in the past based on which one started a strategy back then and achieved something with that very role - or in another case, like in the beginning of this film, where someone is squeezed into that role by another person. Of course that begins already as a child – to be how the parents want us to be. That is when one is already being maneuvered into a role so to speak. In that sense, psychological manipulation starts at birth.
Interviewer: Edit, thank you so very much for this interview.
Edit: Wait a second and let me get my colleague Hans – this will be very interesting for him to see….
... See interview 2 below …
Transcript of interview with Prof. em. Dr. iur. and Dr. phil. I Hans Giger, University of Zurich, Attorney together with Prof. Edit Seidl M.B.A., Mediator IRP-HSG
Hans: Very impressive. It is interesting that the director was off-screen. That is very good. I really like that only his voice is being heard and that the actress is the center of events. And this transformation – that is really excellent. There is almost a slight threat in the air. It translates…incredible.
Edit: That really is an educational film for psychological manipulation.
Hans: Yes, also due to playing with excessive praise – as with a life belt one clings to the positive and when the actress defends herself the director stonewalls her – that is like a drop – then he catches her again and builds her up again in a different manner. Yes, very instructive - psychologically very interesting.
Edit: That is absolutely realistic.
Hans: I am familiar with it since I also graduated in psychology.
Edit: Surely not all these manipulation techniques are applied in every case - but singular elements – everybody does that on a daily basis.
Hans: One does it often subconsciously.
Interviewer: Where do you think is the line between doing something on purpose and learned behavior? I think to a certain degree we all manipulate, right?
Hans: Yes, essentially. Of course everyone is different. There are some who combine that with a certain “talent” as well as a certain hebetude – where one has no built-in control. Unfortunately, one can be very successful with that.
Edit: One of the main tools is certainly the deprivation of love. First one says: “You are very good, indeed,” and then one says: “No, in fact you are not that good – I will look for somebody else.”
Interviewer: So, are you saying that first there is a built-up by giving love and then the deprivation of it – the breakdown – followed by the slow built-up by giving love again?
Hans: Yes, then one builds it up again very slowly with other nuances.
Interviewer: It was my impression that in the film there are continuously different strategies that are applied – which is a real archaic element of a hunting behavior. As if one were chasing prey.
Hans: The actress always looked distressed.
Edit: She was uneasy.
Hans: Only towards the end she turned around. And technically that is the flight – when one can almost not handle it anymore – then all there is left is the flight – and the flight is then into an extreme.
Edit: Yes, by taking the bull by the horns …
Hans: Yes, it is a flight by taking the bull by the horns – it is a flight out of the situation. The situation has become unbearable – and in that moment, which in fact is like a boiling point – there are essentially only two possibilities. And one of them is the flight into the contrary.
Edit: The liberation …
Hans: …Yes, but the wrong one …
Interviewer: Do you see that flight into the contrary often in reality?
Hans: Yes, one can see that quite often. It is rather rare that one does that differently – that one does not chose to flight but to fight -and the turn-around. The actress did the turn-around in a different way by …
Interviewer: … mirroring the behavior of the director.
Hans: Yes, but there are of course all nuances. Then, there is of course also the flight into resistance – into the counter opposition – this is very rare. Especially, if one is in a situation where that person wants something from somebody else.
Edit: Of course, it works also by using the appeal. That was expressed well – when one wants something - one appeals to conventions. One appeals to behaviors that the other one is obliged to follow. Otherwise he/she gets segregated or is not considered a social being any more. Children are masters at that – that is almost already in us at birth. In that sense, it is the strategy of the weak. There is an incredible amount of manipulation strategies. I also think that nature has attributed every person different talents. A person with deficits in one area might then be more astute in the manipulative area – subconsciously – and applies that accordingly as a consequence to make it through life…. (cut)
Hans: This film can even be embedded in education.
Edit: Yes, absolutely.
Interviewer: What would you have suggested in that situation to the protagonist of the film as a strategy – so that she would either have gone into resistance in a positive way or that she would have fled?
Hans: If she wanted to sign the contract or if she would not want to sign it?
Interviewer: Or if she would not want to sign it under these circumstances.
Hans: As a counselor, I would have suggested that she were a little bit more open in the communication. That she would not show her fear – but also not to take it too far. I would have shown the director that I actually see through it all but that at the same time I am still interested by letting it open how far I will go in that game. In such a situation, one can never give in completely. Rather, the actress should catch that and include the director into all of it. She should say: “It all takes its time – not only I need time, but also you need your time and a lot is still open. But that would require more contact as well as more communication.”
Edit: In a sense dangling the carrot …
Hans: … and then to slip out of the dependence by saying that he did his job also very well – that this is his way of persuasion – that she is thrilled how he manages to do so – but that he shall not leave the point of no return.
Edit: Psychological manipulation always deals with power.
Edit: People like such a director will let go of a person immediately when that person sees through them or when he becomes aware that he is being discovered – when somebody else is par with him. Then such a manipulator will immediately let go of such a person.
Hans: One just has to know what kind of a director that is. If it is one of the lower ones - one has to show distance. If it is one of the higher-ups then one has, as mentioned, rather to solve it through communication. That way, the director sees that the actress follows his thinking – that the actress is moldable on one hand but that she is in control at the same time on the other hand. (cut)
Interviewer: Is one fueling a hunting behavior by rejecting a person?
Hans: Yes, of course. It always depends on the personality as well as on the manner. In cases where the manipulator lives from the fantasy and the effect of that fantasy it is over the moment the manipulator sees the execution, followed by the confrontation. (cut)
Edit: In mediation terms this is the so-called paradox intervention. (cut)
Hans: It is difficult to project such a topic into a film. Especially the voice out of the dark …
Edit: Yes, it is magical, hypnotic.
Interviewer: Yes, I thought that the fantasy would have a bigger effect as if the director would have been shown in the film.
Hans: It would have been very dangerous that it would have drifted into a corny direction – that had to be done this way.
Edit: Everyone can imagine that. Everyone has an image of that manipulator.
Interviewer: And everyone’s image image looks probably different. Many thanks to you both for this interview!