This explores the family dynamic of the Stonems. This topic has always fascinated me not only in terms of Effy but also in terms of Tony.
Anthea Stonem (Effy’s Mom)
The one thing that really stood out to me about Anthea was how unstable she seemed to be. We find out throughout four series little bits and pieces about her personality. It seems as if Anthea hides portions of her personality from her husband and family. This is highlighted when Tony says that Maxxie’s mom told him about Anthea’s dirty sense of humor. We also see that Anthea goes through spells of depression for instance in Series 2 in Effy’s episode. Though it feels like Anthea tries her best to keep this side of herself a secret from her husband. We also see that Anthea may also have issues with being impulsive as she starts an affair with her husband’s boss. Sometimes mental illness runs in families and Anthea Stonem may have psychological disorder herself. She is secretive, neglecting, depressive, and impulsive at times.
The truth is Anthea loves her family and she especially loves Effy. Though she does not make the best decisions for Effy sometimes. Sometimes she is so caught up in her own situation and feelings or pretending that everything is okay that she does not notice her daughter needs help. Both the Stonems act as if this is part of Effy’s personality and that there is nothing wrong with a child who refuses to speak. They also buy into Effy’s innocent act and blame Tony for Effy’s drug overdose in Series 2. Effy loves her Mom and takes care of her when she is depressed; however, I think that Effy feels both neglected and disappointed by her mom. Especially in terms of the affair she had and in the fact that Anthea did not see the warning signs until they got so loud no one could possibly ignore them.
Jim Stonem (Father):
He is portrayed as a selfish guy who swears who lacks tact or affection. He does not seem to know his children. All he knows is that there is something about Tony that scares him and something about Effy he does not want to believe. He overreacts and is constantly complaining. He is that loud speaker that constantly talks at you instead of listens. He also has issues with neglect and does not seem to really know how to take care of his children or his wife. He loves his kids, but he just lacks the emotional connection. In many ways both the Stonem children have issues with affection and intimacy. Something that I suspect their father has trouble with as well especially when relating to his children.
The relationship that Effy has with her father is basically one of pretending to be something she is not. She performs quite a bit for both of her parents. Though she is more successful with her father. In Series 3 Jim finds out that his wife has had an affair and decides to move out. We do not see him again. The absence of Effy’s father does take a toll on Effy. Her unstable world has become even more unstable with her parents separating.
Tony Stonem (Brother):
Just like most house holds when the parents fail to provide the emotional support children need many times siblings will start to fulfill those roles. Tony and Effy both have some kind of psychological issues. Effy seems more like bi polar disorder/borderline personality disorder and Tony seems more like narcissistic personality disorder . Though I have heard theories about other things as well. Effy goes from lows to highs & Tony has no regard for people’s feelings. Both of them have some major issues psychologically and I suspect that their parents do too.
Tony and Effy bond over the fact that all they have is one another. Their parents neglect them and are self absorb the majority of the time. They both feel disconnected from the rest of the world. Both not knowing how to relate to the world. Tony; however, is more social than Effy is so he was able to create a group of friends for himself. Though he has a hard time connecting with each of them in the way that he should. Effy though is alone until she finds Pandora.
The world does not fully understand Effy and Tony. Let’s be honest though Effy and Tony do not fully understand the rest of the world though they are both talented with manipulation. However Effy and Tony understand one another. There is no one in this world that knows them better than each other. They both feel disconnected and they both have parents that do not see them the way they need to be seen.
This is why I also think in Series 3 and Series 4 Effy starts to break down. Tony is away at University so Effy has to deal with her parents separation and falling in love on her own without the person who understands her the best. Even though after the accident Tony’s brain changed dramatically, so maybe Effy feels that Tony does not understand her in the way that he use to. I hope we get to see the Stonem children together again in the specials.