As I mentioned yesterday, Elly seems not to remember the past as it actually happened. One example of this was when she complained about training Edgar and wistfully commented on how easy it was to train his father, Farley. When Liz reminded her that this was not at all true, Elly made some sort of pseudo-profound statement about how she glossed over the bad times because she was a mother. The plain truth is that she remembered things not as they actually happened but as she believes they should have. I can think of a few reasons that this might be:
- Lack of intellect: To lead off, it seems to me that Elly is quite simply not smart enough to get the point of most of the events that take place around her. Since she’s too dumb to know what’s going on, she can’t be expected to remember what really happened.
- Inattention: We also have to contend with her living in a self-induced fog because she simply cannot be bothered to spare what little intellect she has paying attention to details that don’t further grudges; this leads into the next problem.
- Fear of complexity: As we’ve seen, she fears and hates life when things get too complex for her limited intellect to handle. The same woman who lamented that a stereo didn’t simply come with an on-off switch isn’t going to be able to cope with situations that require multi-layered thinking. The result is that she only remembers the most superficial detail of a phenomenon. As an example, it seems to me that Thérèse and her family wanted cash at the shower because it made more sense to kick money into an RESP than to give Françoise clothes and toys she’s outgrow; since Elly is a simpleton who puts hollow sentiment above real practicalities, she thought she was in the presence of mercenary creeps.
- Negativity: If there's a way for Elly to see something negative about something, she will find it; preferably, that imagined outcome will be catastrophically bad so she can achieve maximum martyrdom should it take place. It doesn't matter how unlikely the perceived disaster is, she focuses on it to the exclusion of all else.
- Biased Thinking: This leads into the next hindrance to clear thinking: Elly’s mind is loaded with biases against pretty much anything. Instead of actually taking the time to think through a problem, she finds the stereotype that best fits the situation and tells herself that that’s what’s really happening. An example of that was when April calmly told her she would be down for supper after she saved the file she was working on; I’m convinced that Elly remembers a profane, defiant tirade because that’s how Teenagers Today Are. Since her idiot husband is too dumb and lazy to ask questions, April got treated like crap for nothing.
- Narcissism: The next great obstacle to remembering things as they are is Elly’s horrible self-absorption and paranoid fixations. We’re dealing with a woman who thinks that there’s a vast conspiracy afoot to keep her miserable because she’s too awesome for this or any other world. We are, after all, talking about the same woman who insists that John should apologize forever and ever for something that happened in a dream and, unless I miss my guess, is currently clucking her tongue about those people in Haiti who think they have it tough right now, just try and get through her day, they’ll know what hardship really is. The black hole which is her vanity and persecution complex distorts everything she sees and hears so that it takes on a shape not consonant with objective reality.
- Vengefulness: Finally, Elly loves to nurse grudges as a means of having to defer the horrible, hateful, sinful act of conceding that she might actually be in error on an issue. Since she can’t admit that she can’t at the same time champion her parents values when they suit her and and condemn them when Phil profits from them, she spent years at odds with him because she’d convinced herself that he profited from an inequality that didn’t really exist.
This not only makes Elly a gullible simpleton who’ll be only too glad to help out callous exploiters who flatter her while they stab her in the back and turn her face to well-meaning types who use harsh language to express their generous impulses, it also explains why she wants to own her children’s horses. Since she remembers a boring, average life filled with ups and downs as a series of endless woes, she must be avenged for crimes that only take place in her fevered imaginings.