Let's start by how they perceive Farleygate; what we saw was a lazy, self-absorbed mother who couldn't be bothered either locking a gate, making sure that her child knew that she shouldn't do so without her approval or heeding warnings that spring run-off constituted an active menace that she needed to be vigilant about setting up a disaster by lying to her child and telling her to not bother her while she's boasting about the trip she'd earlier said was boring in an effort to keep the poor kid from regretting not being yelled at someplace else. The end result is that said child nearly died and an ill-used pet did; what Elly sees as having happened is that April simply toppled into the river. No human agency could be said to be involved, you see; it simply happened that way because if it didn't, if a human being caused it, she'd have to feel bad about things and that would be wrong.
It would also be wrong to admit that she thought that her being flattered by a thief who went home at night and guffawed about what a gullible old fool she was had to continue because it made her feel big and important. It didn't matter to her that April was threatened with harm to make it so or that Moira was trying to warn her that she was making a mistake that would cost her in the long run; when someone else forgot her place and stopped the flow of ego-boosting lies and revealed that she'd let herself be taken for a ride because she was not paying attention, she ended up losing interest in the store because she'd been humiliated.
The sociopathy doesn't stop there. That's because we also find ourselves watching both John and Michael getting bugs up their shorts because people don't congratulate them for their wit when they make hatefully demeaning remarks to those around them; it's not that they're selfish jerks who don't want to admit that other people's feelings hurt just as much as theirs do when they've been insulted, it's that they're surrounded by picky-faces. They also have the idea that their fear and hatred of the idea that they're not really in control of their lives gives them the right to push people around like the dumb bullies they are. As an example, John's need to ship his children off to a farm because they don't mindlessly obey his ill-informed whims is easily as annoying as Mike getting upset because a mere woman took the initiative in his relationship; how dare she not passively wait for him to decide what was best for her.
That being said, they're at their worst when they're working on a collective act of swinishness. One of the most hateful acts that isn't marrying Liz off to a stalker so that they can gain not only an accountant for when John passes on but further control of a flunky was how they helped Deanna hoodwink her mother into perpetrating a fraudulent wedding so as to punish her for 'dictating' to them. In both instances, they saw themselves as having triumphed over an unreasonably domineering monster who wins all the time; anyone who isn't eight or so sees them as having steamrolled sitting ducks.
Finally, let's not forget that Liz thought that April was way out of line for getting on her case about Jim's harmonica; she'd been flattered and felt good because a thief who committed a petty act of revenge dispensed some shallow, insincere nonsense meant to keep her from calling the cops on him so being asked to feel guilty about something that pleased her was wrong, daddy, wrong.
Simply put, when told that there are higher concerns than avoiding discomfort and maximizing pleasure, the Pattersons get upset at the person doing so; they don't care about what others might need because their right to swing their arms shouldn't stop at the other man's nose. He's either supposed to take his nose someplace else or just suck up getting belted because they've suffered like no others.