- Elly: Elly thinks of herself as a clear-headed, responsible, intelligent, hard-working and long-suffering tower of strength; everyone outside the charmed circle of Pattersainthood thinks of her as being a peevish, nitwitted, flighty, lazy doughhead squealing about nothing.
- Mike: He thinks of himself as being a wonderful guy who's loaded with talent and, since he deals with the irrationally jealous with aplomb, loaded with the patience of a saint; the casual observer sees him as the whiny, vindictive, sullen, thin-skinned and cowardly brat he is.
- Liz: It's difficult to listen to the passive drip bloviate about how she's large and in charge without either laughing derisively or weeping in despair. The only time she makes anything like a decision is when she has no choice.
- John: Given that his definition of decisiveness means making snap judgments that he can't admit are wrong and how most of what frightens him does so because it forces him to face the scary prospect that what he believes to be common knowledge isn't and since he reacts to anything that threatens his fragile self-concept with panicky rage, it should come as no real shock that he's regarded as a self-serving, crotchety old fossil loaded with fatuous bullcrap.
What they think of one another is somewhat more complex and will be covered later; suffice to say for now, the picture that they have of one another is as off-base as their self-concept.
That being said, I'd like to remind you that I think that the only sort of person that could live in that house for any great length of time is someone with an equally distorted self-concept: this is why Deanna is such a great fit. When she convinced the Pattersons that shaking her mother down based on a false pretense was a good and necessary thing, I started to wonder where her honesty and decency were located. When she insisted on defending every stupid move her vain, whiny, lazy idiot husband made no matter how much it made her life suck, I wondered where her alleged self-respect was parked. When she stood there making complaint after complaint about Mike only to get into a big crying jag about something trivial, I questioned the maturity she so lovingly awarded herself. When she got into a blind panic because Mira might have actually resolved her problems with the Kelpfroths, it got me to wondering where the courage she boasts about was. Finally, when I realized that her idea of responsible parenting consisted of telling her children what they couldn't do (i.e. move around and speak), I wondered where her supposed caring was. I have no doubt in my mind that Dee looks in the mirror and sees a wonderful person; I also don't doubt that most of the people in Milborough regard her as a delusional piece of white trash who needs to have a visit from CPS. I also know that the idiots regard her almost as highly as they do the ineffable Mister Caine.