Of course, it's not just the inability to see that Liz had internalized Elly's body image issues that left John and Elly spending the Middle Years wondering why it was that the girl they saw as being cute as a button looked in the mirror and only noticed flaws which she pretty much magnified. They also tended to gloss over a problem most people would identify as being critical to the whole thing: Mike's tendency to push her buttons out of sheer stupid malice. A person could set his or her watch by his making a stupidly mean-spirited comment right after John and Elly had managed to finally reassure her that no, she wasn't an ugly stooooooooopid-looking total dweebhead. What should have alerted them to why he did this was the excuse he offered them when told to cut the monkey business. For some reason or another that escaped them, Mike had been brought up thinking that Lizzie was somehow or other required to suck it up when he was on a roll.