No-Face demonstrates two unhealthy attachments here. He’s attached to the idea that the only way to fill the loneliness inside of him is to please Chihiro and gain her friendship. No-face is also attached to the idea that the only way to gain Chihiro’s friendship is through material gifts. This sets up an unrealistic expectation that can easily lead to a negative pattern – that of selfishly giving only for what one can get in return.
Such behavior is common in people who develop unhealthy attachments to other people. It’s dangerous to define our personal happiness solely through the actions or perceived thoughts of others. The feelings we gain from this type of attachment are quite often false and misleading. It’s not the type of connection we really need, even though we may think it is. It has the potential for opening us up to an emotional roller coaster ride that is harmful to both ourselves and the object of our attention.
Later in the movie, No-Face learns that the other workers in the bath house crave gold. He lures a frog worker to him with a handful of gold nuggets. No-Face then swallows the worker
Before he can escape. The act of swallowing the frog changes No-Face’s personality and voice. The frog craves food, so now No-Face craves food…and lots of it.
This is another example of No-Face demonstrating unhealthy attachments, this time to fear of abandonment. He won’t let the frog worker leave him the way he feels Chihiro left him. I find it interesting that No-Face takes on the frog’s personality after consuming him. It’s as if No-Face loses himself so much to his attachments that he becomes the things he’s attached to. Though it may not be to the extent that No-Face has experienced, how often have we changed ourselves or our beliefs to please others?
In some cases, such a change can be beneficial. A good example of this would be friends inspiring you towards
personal growth to a degree you may not have been motivated to do on
Your own. But in many cases, making these changes for the sole purpose of pleasing others only pulls us further away from our true selves.
No-Face produces a massive quantity of gold and initially, the other bath house workers pretend to adore him for it. They give him as much food as he wants, and he gives them as much gold as they want. No-Face’s emptiness isn’t satisfied with all the food he’s eating or the workers’ false friendship. But he’s also attached to the illusion of being “cared for” by the bath house workers, so he continues to consume more and more.
Many people fall into this trap when they become emotional eaters. There’s a perceived emptiness inside, whether it be a lack of love or comfort or satisfaction with one’s life. When we
Feel we can’t get or aren’t receiving enough of those basic human needs, we use comfort foods as a substitute. This type of unhealthy attachment isn’t restricted to just food. It’s easy to become attached to shopping, gambling, work, alcohol, drugs, people, or any of the other addictions for the very same reasons.
The next time Chihiro sees No-Face, he’s morphed into a force of insatiable hunger that threatens to destroy the bath house. He produces an overflowing pile of gold, begging Chihiro to take it from him so he can experience her kindness again. When she refuses, he threatens to eat her. His desire for Chihiro’s affections is now so unhealthy he’s blinded to the fact that swallowing Chihiro would mean destroying the source of that which he desires.