The Barone’s of:-Family Members/ Roles (3-7)-Cohesion and Structure (8-9)-Conflicts (10-11)-Families of Origin (12)-Intimacy Factors (13-14)-Barriers to Communication(15-16)-Relational Currencies (17)-Improvements to Communication (18)-Bibliography (19) Left to Right: Frank, Ray, Robert, Debra, Marie
Ray is the main character of the show, he is married to Debra. They live across directly across the street from his parents and brother, which causes a lot of conflict. Ray is a sportswriter, but works from home. This causes Ray to be at home a lot more than the average husband. He is classified as the provider for the family, as he earns the money.
Debra is Ray’s wife, and is her role is caregiver to their three children. Due to their close proximity to Ray’s parents, they are often meddling with Debra’s parenting and housekeeping.
Marie is Ray’s mother, and Debra’s mother in law. She is manipulative, and often times passive aggressive. She feels that Debra is an inadequate housekeeper, and often shows blatant favoritism towards Ray.
Frank is Ray’s father, and often a“Holy crap.” strong, masculine figure. Frank is a former veteran, and often acts as the family “harda**.” He acts uncaring towards Marie, and uninterested in the events around him, but this is revealed to be part of his self image.
Robert is Ray’s brother, and NYPD policeman. He is often “shafted” in favour of Ray, including Marie sometimes showing Ray more affection. Robert has many quirks due to this including touching his food to his chin, and an inadequacy complex.
The Barone’s would best be described as an enmeshed family. Due to the close proximity of Ray’s parents, Ray and Deb almost never get any independence. This affects Debra more than Ray, because Marie often intrudes and undermines Debra’s housekeeping. Textbook definition is as follows: “Family members experience extreme closeness, loyalty, dependence, and almost no individuality.” Despite Ray being the provider, housekeeper Debra is seen as the head of Ray’s and her home.
The family structure would be classified as structured. They don’t go through a lot of change, but the big change that happens within the family is who holds the most power at the given time. Usually Debra or Marie. Boundaries: the Barone’s have few. This is because Marie tends to invade all of them, from reading Ray’s childhood diary to asking Debra to be more intimate with Ray.
Power in the Baronefamily.Despite making the money, Debrais seen as head of the house.She makes all the decisions aboutthe money and children, and whatshe expects Ray to do.Marie often challenges Debra forthe power whenever she getsinvolved. Citing Debra’s lack ofhousekeeping/parentingskills, despite not having the bestones herself.Ray also himself has little power and often finds himself carrying out the wishes of both Marie orDebra. The same could be said for Robert, as he lives with Marie and Frank, he often powerless tothem controlling his life. Frank has situational power, though he acts uninterested to the eventsaround him, when he says something serious, they usually listen.
There’s plenty of conflict in the Barone’s family structure, but there’s three big ones: Debra/Marie: Marie sees Debra as an unfitting housekeeper. Debra sees Marie as intrusive, and manipulative. They often conflict over ideals about running a household, and it usually involves Marie getting too involved. Ray/Robert: Robert often feels that he is neglected in favor to Ray. Though he denies it, Ray often taunts Robert with it. Barone’s/Frank: Due to his strong presence, and overbearing nature, Frank tends to conflict with several members of the family. Often calling Robert out for being whiny, or Ray for being needy. He often conflicts with Marie, about spousal things. He’s said on occasion he feels bad for Debra, but they’ve also had issues in the past.
“The term Family of Origin influences refers Ray’s family was always very enmeshed. As a child Frank wasto how current relational experiences reflect: allegedly very strict, where Marie(1) unique multigenerational transmissions was often overbearingly kind andand (2) the members’ ethnic heritages.” (46) involved. According to Robert, Ray was treated more favorably to himself. Due to the constant inconsistencies Ray and Robert both have their issues. Ray clearly has separation issues with his parents, and Robert has low self-esteem. Debra comes from a wealthy family, and was treated well by her parents. Being an only child, she had a lot of independence. Due to the closeness of the Barone’s, she’s seen a lot of the individuality dissipate.
“In addition to commitment, and sexual Sacrifice: All the members communication, partners and family of the Barone’s exhibit members develop closeness and intimacy through members’ efforts and sacrifices… some form of sacrifice. (142)” Ray sacrifices his independence when Debra asks him to work from home. Debra sacrifices her individuality for the sake of the family, as does Robert for financial reasons. Marie and Frank don’t make as many sacrifices, but Marie would say that they would. Ray and Deb, have an intimate chat in bed.
Effort: Ray makes the most effort out of all the family. This is because Debra expects him to simultaneously work and raise the children from home. “mental love maps” (143) are an idea that respective spouses should know instantly when somethings wrong with them. Debra often Due to Frank’s reluctance to hug his berates Ray for not sons, Marie, Debra, and Amy force them to. having a very good one.
Jealousy plays a large role“Jealousy results from the perception in the show, as Robert andthat a treasured relationship is Marie are jealous of Raythreatened, usually by another and Debra respectively.person.” (146) Marie often shows favoritism towards Ray, this is a pattern that has followed Robert for his entire life. He’s often jealous at all the attention that Ray gets as a result. Marie is jealous of Debra because Debra married Ray, and took on the role Robert and Frank steal Ray’s soup because Marie made of his primary caregiver. specifically for Ray.
“Deception involves communicating or Deception: Marie is oftenwithholding information knowingly and most guilty of this barrier.intentionally for the purpose of creating She oftena false belief” (146) lies, manipulates, or withholds information from the rest of the family. She’s done so to the degree of lying to her own son about his actual birth date. She’s also used deception about her own marriage, and births of her children. Marie; one of the most deceptive characters on the show. Debra also tends to use deception, in relation to both parents over involvement in their lives.
DEBRA BARONE MARIE BARONE When dealing with her Marie uses food and husband, Debra uses cooking to show her love physically affection to to the family. She often communicate her love for makes them feel guilty about only using her for him. food, despite her inviting When dealing with the in- them over with the laws, Debra is often promise of food. passive aggressive, but Marie is very passive more open to aggressive as well, she communication, then they avoids conflict by usually are. manipulating others to conflict for her.
Possible improvementsto FamiliarCommunicationRay and Debra should be honest withMarie and Frank. If they’re meddlingtoo much, they shouldn’t be afraid totell them, nor should they getsomeone else to do it for them.Marie and Frank should be moreconsiderate, I know they’refamily, but they give Ray and Debrano personal space. Marie should alsobe more respectful of Debra’swishes, and let her haveindependence.Robert should confront Ray about hislow-self esteem. Letting all thoseemotions pile up for 30 years hasn’tworked out so far.Basically more honest and open formsof communication would be best.More direct communication too.
Galvin, Kathleen M., Carma Lee Bylund, and Bernard J. Brommel. Family communication: cohesion and change. 8th ed. Boston: Pearson Allyn and Bacon, 2012. Print. Images from: Bing.com/images