Family Dysfunction In Ordinary People

1058 Words 5 Pages
The film Ordinary People demonstrates clear examples of family dysfunction.
The Jarrett family, that the movie portrays, has just suffered through the death of their eldest son Buck. The pain of this event caused the family 's younger son Conrad to attempt committing suicide. This has put major strain on family relationships, as Conrad feels guilty for making his parents worry. His father Calvin has difficulty understanding where his son is coming from, and his mother Beth seems to want to only have things go back to normal and not acknowledge the multitude of problems. All of these problems stem from the family 's inability to communicate. As a result of this, it is undeniable that the family could have benefited from conflict management
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This is clearly done in an attempt to avoid addressing the emotions brought on by the loss of his older brother and his parents frustrating reaction. Conrad’s tendency toward silence is seen at the beginning of the movie when he is initially very hesitant to call Dr. Burger. This is further demonstrated in interactions with both Karen and Jeanine, when Conrad demeanor goes from extremely open back to reserved. This tendency of Conrad’s is overcome when Dr. Burger provokes Conrad into violence in the hope of stopping him from suppressing all emotion. The results of this can be observed in the very next scene when Conrad lashes out violently at his mother over family pictures. This violent method of expressing his emotions culminates in a physical fight with a teammate which prompted a confrontation by an old friend who teaches that he needs to be more focused on not shutting people out. This would prove to be a more healthy way to express himself. Looking at all of Conrad’s action’s, I honestly believe that contrasting is the best conflict management strategy available to him. This is because it gives him a way to express himself nonviolently, and because no-one can control if emotional safety is provided to them. For how complicated Conrad’s situation is, it is nothing compared to the maladaptive methods used by his

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