The really sad thing about Elly's love of sweeping refusals and telling John that he'd better back her snap judgments and rash decisions is the stupid reason. The reason is that she grew old but never really grew up, not really. It's why she won't ever admit to being wrong; admitting error means to her that the other person wins and that's that. She isn't flexible or kind enough to accept that No can mean "I'm not sure" or "Maybe later"; "No" means "No" forever. The same irrational fear of being dominated even explains why she refuses her children's simplest requests; in her mind, letting them have what they wanted made them the boss of her. This reminds me of a song by a man named Bruce Cockburn called The Trouble with Normal; that's because the lyric "The trouble with 'normal' is that it always gets worse" echoes through my head when I see Young Elly. That's because, as howtheduck reminded us, Elly used to admit that she was wrong but didn't want to go back on her word; as she got older and colder-hearted, she refused to admit that. What she did do was spout non-apologies that blamed her refusal on external factors; since her Martian victim had never heard a real apology in her life, she was tricked into thinking her mother cared.