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1. Victim - aggressor
When I feel threatened by a word, an act, an event or a piece of news; and depending on the impact that it has on me, I can sometimes react with anger and to spontaneously employ menacing gestures, accusatory and judgemental language (you are a…), of devaloraisation (you are not…), of comparison (as opposed to…) or of interdiction (stop…). Or else I can react in fear and become silent, or fear the consequences of my anger (fear of causing offence). Or my silence could even be in anticipated shame at the rudeness of which I might be capable. In short, these emotive reactions can serve to protect me (it is their primary function) or put me in a difficult situation, depending on how I express them. In this way I can go from an initial state of comparative emotional neutrality to a state of intense emotion (which is a physical reaction), triggered by an external event in which I can simultaneously feel that I am both a victim and an aggressor .
When there is an ‘aggression’ such as this, either real or experienced as such, we can firstly identify two categories of attitudes:
Diagram 1: Victim – Aggressor which reinforces the violent duality:
What characterises this relationship of violence, going from an argument up to the level of war, is the duality of the positions into which the protagonists are trapped. The violence increases when the changes in role are limited to these two positions.
Through the dynamic of emotional reaction, I can move very quickly from the role of ‘victim of violence’ to the role of ‘violent aggressor’ and transform my ‘violent aggressor’ to the role of ‘victim of violence’. And this can continue in an increasingly violent spiral. We consider these reciprocal aggressions and violence to be mimetic because the reaction to one produces the reaction to the other and so on . Also because at a deeper level my condemnations of the acts or words of the other most probably draw their energy from the shame that I feel from having had the same reaction.
This duality of ‘aggressor – victim’ can last a very long time. It can be found as much between two people as between two groups, between employees and employers, buyers and sellers or between a population and dictatorship, or between an oppressed population and its oppressor (for example in colonialism).
If this relationship lasts a long time it is – as Gandhi said, following La Boétie in his Discours de la servitude volontaire ou le Contr’un (1576) – because it is made up of involuntary collaboration (through fear) and unconscious (through submission and/or cultural devalorisation) of the victims with their aggressor(s). Or in armed liberation struggles, because there is a spiral aggressor(s)/victim(s) due the use of violence in this situation.
2. Third party observers
In order to reduce the violence in a dual situation, a third party needs to be brought in, and certain conditions respected
I can be the observer or witness to a situation where two people, groups or peoples are in confrontation. I can be a passive observer (through fear) and find all kinds of justifications in order to distance myself from the situation. This situation could also provoke anger in me, and at this point I will involve myself in the situation and become an active observer. Very often by taking the ‘side’ of the party that I perceive to be the victim, and ‘against’ the one that I perceive to be the aggressor. ‘Alone I will get you out of there’ is from that point my ‘motto’. I am in feeling all-powerful, characteristic of the role of ‘partisan’ and in a position of ‘Rescue’: I define who are the good and the bad sides.
From the position of Rescue, the partisan becomes an aggressor, and the real or imagined aggressor becomes the victim. It can then happen that when faced with the violence of the partisan-aggressor the victim can try to help (or at least provide excuses for) their own aggressor… the roles are interchanged, and this is why this process is referred to as ‘dramatic’ .
Through ‘taking sides’ the partisans come to the point where they are justifying the passivity of the victims or the injustices that develop within their group for example through actions of violent resistance.
Through ‘taking sides’ against the aggressors, the partisans become insensitive to the victims of the violent acts of the resistance and the oppression that they are supporting.
‘Partisan’ groups often justify the fact they have taken sides in the name of solidarity. In fact this is a ‘biased’ solidarity, as it is one that is exclusive. And yet violence always results in victims on both sides. In acting for one side we reinforce the duality, the oppositions, and the violence. In fact the ‘partisans’ are in the same state of ‘all-powerful’ as the aggressors.
Diagram 2: Partisan observer who reinforces the pattern of violent duality
2.b. ‘External guarantor’ observer
The first function of law or any institutionally sanctioned guarantor is to denounce the passage to acts of transgression, to place sanctions against the transgressions by recognising the harm suffered by the victim by imposing a penalty on the aggressor.
I can be a guarantor and observer as a parent by creating a climate of emotional security for my children, and by imposing penalties either real or symbolic when they transgress certain limits. It is moreover in transgressing these limits that they discover their existence. It is possible that through certain of their actions I feel victimised (noise, breakage etc.), I get carried away and in the all powerfulness of the aggressor I punish them physically or psychologically and then after be ashamed of having acted in such a way. In order to restore my authority, I need to acknowledge that my reaction is contrary to my values and to apologise for the harm caused, without also giving up on the validity of the limits I imposed.
I can also be a guarantor and observer through my post in an institution: my role will define a series of actions that I put into place in order to guarantee the security of the staff, as well as answering to the other linked obligations under my responsibility.
The inventor of Pétrin  refers to this role as the ‘external guarantor’ . This is a neutral third party, who does not allow themselves to back either of the protagonists, and therefore stays outside of the violent duality, at an equal distance from both the protagonists: their motto is ‘I maintain order’, they carry out their function with authority, in the name of their institutional legitimacy.
We say that this person is in a position of ‘Sanction’  because they are guarantors of order (defined by laws, working rules, responsibilities linked to a position, a role) and that they must sanction or punish all transgressions: the sanctions therefore concern in equal measure the penalties imposed on the aggressor, and reparation for the harm done to the victim. The legitimacy of this person to act in this capacity comes from their authority, which endows them with ‘strength’ in the measure that they have the means, and therefore the power to apply sanctions. Strictly speaking, the external guarantor is not affected by these measures, or at the very least these effects must not influence their decisions.
Diagram 3: The third party guarantor to reduce or bring about a cessation of violence.
This position of Sanction and role of ‘external guarantor’ corresponds to all the roles where an adult is responsible for the security of other people: parent, teacher, educator, leader, head of a team, director, referee, mediator, police, judge, president etc. In order to be used without the influence of emotions, the tool represented by sanctions needs to be pre-defined : from verbal confrontation, a reminder of the rules; and all the way up to measures of exclusion, passing by every stage of pedagogical sanction. In the same way that a policeman or a judge have to be able to bring an end to any injustice or violence, if necessary by use of the law, a guarantor needs to be able to stop any initiation of violent acts, transgression or dysfunction, in the name of the rules. Many situations of ‘institutional violence’ are the result of incapacity of the ‘external guarantors’ to make sure that the rules are obeyed, either through lack of means or authority.
This position can also be held by the citizen who intervenes to denounce antisocial behaviour, with as their only means persuasion, or in case of legal transgression through filing a complaint, or other means except that of violence. It is important to note that the citizen-activist is more often involved as a biased observer than guarantor observer. However all NGOs which intervene in the form of letter campaigns which denounce injustices whilst respecting the authors or their ‘accomplices’ are in this role of ‘external guarantor’.
In principle the aim of the intervention of the ‘external guarantor’ in bringing about a cessation of violence, is to allow the victim and the aggressor to get out of their mutual imprisonment in their roles and return to being their own ‘guarantor’ through the recognition of the validity of the sanctions, if not their legitimacy (penalties and reparations). In cases of dissatisfaction of one or other of the parties there is provision for appeal.
It is also possible, for example in the case of murders, that the reparations obtained do not allow the family of the victim, themselves also victims, to move on, and that a deep feeling of injustice remains, which can contribute to a desire for revenge. The victims will remain in their position of passivity, and will shut themselves into ‘judgement on alleged intent’ of the aggressor. In order to help people to escape from this role it is necessary to initiate ‘mediation’ with the aggressor. Some are able to make this step, or at the least perceive the suffering of the aggressor and therefore to ‘forgive’. Through this use of this word, they express that they have been able to find peace within themselves and free themselves from the need for vengeance.
It is also what happens in processes of national or international ‘reconciliation’ as has been the case in post-apartheid South Africa, or of France and Germany. It is not possible to have a true amnesty unless the victims can be heard, the harm that they experienced acknowledged, and if they receive reparation even if the latter is only symbolic .
We will see that this method can be the same as, or inspired by that which we will present further on: that of ‘internal guarantor’.
However, as we know, history and the present are made up of many ‘external guarantors’ who are in fact partisan:
We are therefore going to use the two laws of Pétrin :
Violence worsens in this system every time that a party encloses themselves, or is shut into their position, becoming a prisoner of their role:
That violence increases within the system every time that one of these roles is forgotten, put aside, or if the word of one of them is rejected.
The fact of concentrating only on two positions can be the result of a ‘strategy’: it is that which is made every time that people, groups or states want to impose their point of view, the exclusive defence of their interests by all means possible. It should be possible to achieve goals without being the sure of being the strongest. It is very often what takes place, but history shows that in wanting to wage war to the bitter end, we end up exhausted, and that the price to pay can be very high!
However, violence is reduced in a conflictual system from the point when sanctions (in words or actions) can be spread between all the actors in the system (victim-s, aggressor-s and external guarantor-s of the rules/law) and take on meaning for each of them, that is to say from the moment that the aggressor-s and victim-s can accept the sanction and rebuild themselves through it.
2.c. ‘Internal guarantor’ observer
I can also find myself when an ‘external guarantor’ in a situation of powerlessness, or of all-powerfulness vis-a-vis subordinates (children, members of my team, users, clients etc.) or my superior who is giving me contradictory orders. From the moment that I feel one or other of these states I have de facto left my position of Sanction, and my role of external guarantor and I become a victim, which I can remain, or from victim I immediately become an aggressor. This takes us back into the situation in Diagram 1: Victim – Aggressor which reinforces the violent duality. If we imagine that I call once again on the rules, and encounter denial from the person who is in the role of victim, or that I am accused, mocked, humiliated and threatened by the party that has carried out a transgression that I am sanctioning. It is at this point that the emotional dynamics will play an important part in order to escape the feeling of powerlessness, without the risk of turning immediately to a feeling of all-powerfulness.
If when I arrive in a position of Perception (from the position of Sanction) I express very precisely what I feel, and if I am able to deconstruct my powerlessness , then I will be able to use the energy from these emotions to ‘rebound’ . I will still be in the role of victim, but of responsible victim who takes responsibility for their perceptions, who is capable of talking about it without fear, to accept their emotions and to deconstruct their powerlessness.
It would be possible to object to this idea on the grounds that in this ‘responsible’ role one is no longer victim. We are victim firstly in regard to harm committed. After this it is up to us whether this harm will be suffered or accepted, it is the kind of emotional reaction (rejected or accepted) that will make a difference.
Once ‘impelled’ by this energy, I will need to orient this energy to a position of Intention through the affirmation of choices, values; the desire to work with, or the intention of respectful cooperation that conform to the laws, or higher values; and so is free of all powerfulness. We call, by default, the role that corresponds to this position ‘constructive resistance’ : ‘objector’ and ‘dissident’ would also correspond to this role. As opposed to the role of aggressor, the role of ‘constructive resistance’ refuses to resort to violence.
It is this progression through the formulation of intentions that are explicitly inclusive and respectful of the other that will allow me to return to a position of Sanction  and to rediscover the power linked to this role.
In the course of this process of transformation, positions remain unchanged but the roles that represent them have been transformed: in a position of Perception, from the ‘passive victim’ I have consciously become ‘responsible victim’; in the position of Intention, from aggressor I become ‘constructive resistance’.
Diagram 4: Internal guarantor and the process of transformation:
This is exactly what happens through the ‘constructive programme’ conceptualised by Gandhi for liberation struggle: to start to put into place yourself that which you are asking for (Intentions for fairer ends) without waiting passively for the adversary (dominant power) to do it for you .
NB. We might have the tendency to think that it is possible to do without one of these three positions, as it is possible to move directly from the position of Perception to the position of Intention and the inverse in the dynamics shown in Diagram 1 of the Victim-Aggressor:
It is possible that in the position of Sanction, confronted by powerlessness, I immediately and energetically affirm ‘anger for’ Intentions for change. However if there is ‘anger’ it means that there has been Perception (of an aggression or an injustice, for example): it is in verbalising this perception, in receiving the energy marking out this perception, and in receiving the emotional energy that it contains that I will be able to emotionally mobilise my counterpart. This is way it is indispensible to pass through the position of Perception.
In the same way I need to pass through the position of Intention, and give direction to the emotional energy and rendering it constructive. It could be ‘anger for’, which must then be received, verbalised and given a dynamic.
We call this path, this process ‘transformation’: there is the emotional transformation of the suffering linked to powerlessness and all powerfulness. In reality, and as paradoxical as this can seem, it is this transformation that has allowed me to really move/change, and which will also produce a movement of change in the person imprisoned in their role of passive victim or of aggressor. All because of the emotional dynamics. My verbalisation as responsible victim will result in ‘compassion’  from the person that is imprisoned in their role, or at the least the realisation that they themselves are in an impasse and the recognition of my authority. It is the ‘power’ of emotions that I have verbalised that will ‘convince/make aware’ the other of the possibility of leaving their imprisonment, and give them they key of their own liberation. .
There may be the need for more than one progression through PISTES
It is possible that this first progression along PISTES is not sufficient, and that the same path needs to be taken more than once to reach the exact expression of what I feel, of my emotions (in a verbal or symbolic manner), to finally be able to reach the other, and help them to move .
It is also possible that in the end the other retains their position, and it is their freedom to do so. But I will have given a meaning to my suffering, and it is in this way that I will be able to accept it whilst remaining faithful to my values .
In the best case, I will regain the power essential to my role of guarantor in the position of Sanction, because my authority is once again recognised and the aggressor and/or victim accept my sanctions.
In the more complicated case, where I become aware that what is being asked of me is incompatible with my values, I will need to make a choice: either to make compromises with my values, or revisit them, to consciously abandon them temporarily, or even to resign because I cannot compromise my values .
Diagram 5: Internal Guarantor and progression through PISTES:
NB: the movements 1 and 2 (3 is only beginning in this diagram) symbolise the different ‘laps around PISTES’ that follow one another, necessitating more and more depth (Perception) and height (Intention) to be able to break the deadlock in the situation.
Let us now imagine a situation where I find myself the witness to a social injustice. As a citizen I can consider myself to be an external guarantor/citizen for justice and the respect of laws. I can be led to denounce the attitude of the official external guarantors who are inactive and maybe partisans of the established order. I can very quickly feel powerless and find myself in a position of Perception and in the role of victim. The sanctions, as much with regard to the victims (no recognisiton of the harm suffered) and the aggressors (either support for their unjust actions, or disproportionate sanctions) seem to me badly adapted and contrary to my values.
I can nevertheless activate a process of transformation: I will have to totally accept and take responsibility for my role of responsible victim that I can verbalise and even ex^ress through non-violent actions (strike, hunger strike, civil disobedience and other symbolic actions) which aim at revealing the violence of the situation, and affirm my desire for justice for everyone, but with the condition of accepting the consequences of my choice (sanctions from my superiors, court, prison etc.). It is here that will be revealed the coherence between the means and the desired ends.
This process of transformation will lead me to the role of ‘internal guarantor’ this time, which is the other role which can hold the position of Sanction: not in the name of the ‘established order’ but in the name of a ‘higher order’, that of my values, of my conscience, of a given spirituality etc. It this that all ‘dissidents’ are doing, those who denounce situations of injustice and expose themselves deliberately and without hiding to the risk of repression. It is in this way that we interpret the principles of ‘civil disobedience’ and different kinds of actions of resistance without violence .
That which allows all of these ‘internal guarantors’ to accept repression is the power that they draw from the values to which they subscribe. It is Gandhi’s ‘Satyagraha’ which literally translates as ‘unfailing embrace of the truth’. This dynamic has a chance of creating a movement of ‘non-partisan solidarity’ that would allow to the aggressors, to the victims and the external guarantors to escape their roles, their solitude and invest themselves in the creation of a dynamic of ‘guarantors’ of a new and just order.
It is the experience of many resistance groups of this kind that allows us to explain how this functions. It is not our intention to claim that it ‘always’ happens like this as this depends on different factors linked to the context. However the probability that the course of events follows this pattern is more likely than not. Believing that this is how things will happen is also a part of the role in ‘constructive resistance’.
To the contrary, if in the role of victim I carry out a hidden, clandestine or violent action I am automatically in the role of aggressor and I increase the duality of the violence… This is what has happened to many armed liberation movements: either because of the repression with which they were targeted, or because in cases where they were able to take the power from the State the result has always been a more repressive State.
The fact of going from a situation of powerlessness to the recovery of power through this process of transformation illustrates fairly precisely what is meant by the term ‘empowerment’: “Shortly we can define empowerment as the capacity of people and communities to exercise control over the design and nature of the changes that affect them.” 
This tool allows us to identify where and when, in what position we are, and which role we have from:
It necessitates training to read, along or with of one or more third parties, what was experienced in these unsatisfactory situations:
After discover more than once, in this way a posteriori the hidden part of experienced conflicts, I can become more conscious of the emotional process at play in the situation, without necessarily being aware of how to proceed differently.
And, I will become aware one day that I was able to react differently, to anticipate, in a more constructive manner without having to make an effort: the emotional transformation process starts to bear fruit!
 Those emotions that trigger physically protective reactions, independently of the neocortex. These are generally the signal that one or more of our ‘fundamental needs’ is being denied. By ‘fundamental needs’ we mean the need for love, recognition, security, autonomy and creative transcendence
 It is important at this point to define the difference between ‘role’ and ‘position’.
A ‘role’ corresponds to the ensemble of tasks carried out. In the ‘formal role’ (see ‘external guarantor’ below) the tasks are given with regard to the needs identified by the institutions that have put the external guarantor into place. We refer to as ‘informal role’ that of ‘victim’ or ‘aggressor’ and further on that of ‘partisan’, as it draws its energy from hidden fears and the frustration of basic needs of the person that is ‘manipulating’ the role.
A ‘position’ describes the point of view conditioned by the emotional dynamics: it is because the emotions are repressed and projected that they result the position of Perception for the role of victim, and in the position of ‘Intention’ the role of aggressor. We will see further on that these positions contain a hidden dynamic when the emotions are welcomed and channelled/distilled.
 The feelings of powerlessness and of all powerfulness are emotional constructs: see note 14. These terms, constructed from the word ‘power’ and refer back to the feeling of impossibility or limitless possibility from the power or ability to act
 J.J. Samuel and Hervé Ott Le mimétisme. Eudes autour de René Girard, Cahiers de IECCC.
 This role has already been described in Transactional Analysis through the image of the ‘Dramatic Triangle’. Cf. lan Stewart and Vann Joines Manuel d’Analyse Transactionnelle InterEdition Paris 1991 p. 283 – 285
 PISTES is the acronym for the tool in the original French, holding the same meaning as piste/trail in English and standing for ‘Perception, Intention, Sanction, Transformation Emotionnelle de la Souffrance’ which translates as ‘Perception, Intention, Sanction and Transforming the Emotion of Suffering’ in order to retain the same acronym and its meaning. It is an extension of the tool ‘Pétrin’ developed by Jean-Jacques Samuel (email@example.com).
 Strictly speaking the ‘external guarantor’ is an official role. See footnote 4
 This ‘position’ (cf note 5) of Sanction is at the level of the ‘external guarantor’ of all emotional attachment: the external guarantor needs to be able to detach themselves from their own emotions such as fear, anger, shame etc. in order to remain ‘strong’ in their decisions. At best they feel empathy, on the condition that this is towards all the protagonists.
 The distinction that we are making between ‘sanction’ and ‘punishment’ comes from the emotional luggage that comes with the concept of punishment, which generally is a humiliation for the one that receives it. A sanction is pre-existing consequence to a transgression, in order to allow for reparation of the harm caused.
 In this way the amnesty decreed by the Algerian government after the ten years of ‘war against Islamic terrorism’ was experienced as a terrible injustice, as the harm suffered by the population were silenced, and murderers never found. We can also see parallels in Chile after its dictatorship, and in all countries where a tragic period of history has been covered by guilty silence.
 PISTES is the acronym for the tool in the original French, holding the same meaning as piste/trail in English and standing for ‘Perception, Intention, Sanction, Transformation Emotionnelle de la Souffrance’ which translates as ‘Perception, Intention, Sanction and Transforming the Emotion of Suffering’ in order to retain the same acronym and its meaning. It is an extension of the tool ‘Pétrin’ developed by Jean-Jacques Samuel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
 This feeling of powerlessness is the product of a mixture of repressed emotions, of fear, anger, sadness and event disgust, neutralised by shame or fear etc. This feeling often has its roots in childhood when the subject was curbed in their emotional dynamics but the parental reactions and injunctions.
 Emotions are ‘energy for’ my protection. Repressed, rationalised these emotions become ‘energy against’: ‘anger against’ which produces injury and beats, ‘fear against’ produces accusations, ‘shame against’ which produces guilt, etc. However, when I receive these emotions as a part of myself, without judging them or rejecting them, then they become strong interpersonal supports.
 In France, the word ‘resistance’ is associated, through history with an attitude of violent resistance such as the one that was experienced during the German occupation from 1940-45, which does not correspond to the entire reality. There were also significant incidences of civil if not ‘non-violent’ resistance. In fact the verb ‘to resist’ has a moral meaning (to “be anew”) and it is because of this association that the ‘resistants’ to Nazi ideology chose this term to designate themselves. Marie Durand, hugenot imprisoned in the Tour de Constance in France for 38 years for her religious beliefs, carved the word ‘resist’ into the stone of her prison.
 The position of Sanction also contains, as do the positions of Perception and Intention, an emotional dynamic though the two roles to which they are attached: external guarantor (at best empathy) and internal guarantor (compassion).
 The spinning wheel was the symbol for the process of political and economic independence of India.
 We count within the range of emotions: surprise, joy, anger, sadness, shame, disgust and compassion, often assimilated with ‘empathy’.
 In an emotional process, whether one or more people are involved does not make a significant difference. However it is important to remember that we address every individual and the group.
 This is the same as what happens in the process called ‘non-violent communication’ of Marshall Rosenberg. Cf. Les mots sont des fenêtres Initiation à la communication non-violente. Syros 1999
 Viktor Frankl, Découvrir un sens à sa vie avec la logothérapie. Editions de l’Homme, 1988.
 Values are like the stars that allow sailors to navigate: none of them imagine that they will reach them. We define values as being the transcription by a given cultural group of their fundamental needs of a human being. It is also possible that the fixation on one particular value (fidelity/honesty) is the product of fears/frustrations linked to underlying needs (fidelity against the fear of abandonment/need to be loved, honesty against the fear of loss of bearings/need for orientation/security.
 H. Ott , S’entraîner aux techniques de résistance constructive. Cahiers IECCC N° 3.
 Yann Le Bossé, De l’« habilitation » au « pouvoir d’agir » : vers une appréhension plus circonscrite de la notion d’empowerment. In Nouvelles pratiques sociales, Volume 16, numéro 2, 2003, p. 30-51.
 See footnote 1