Phil, as should be fairly obvious, is not the only character who fears and hates the idea of admitting certain inescapable facts about the world that, if admitted, would destroy his or her delusion of not being responsible for the suffering of others. We’ve seen that his inability to admit that he not only benefited from his parents’ hypocrisy, he enjoyed it or that his braying about ‘freedom’ when he means that he’s terrified of failing and being miserable makes Phil’s life worse than it should be and makes other people hate him. What we’re about to see is that Marian’s inability to face certain facts led directly to Elly being a worse idiot than she otherwise would have been.
To start with, she shared with Elly the constant confusion as to why her children cannot seem to co-exist peacefully because she never wanted to face the fact that she witlessly pitted them against each other in the name of respectability. Every damned time she reacted to Elly’s desire to do something most people of the era would, while being unsure about it, grudgingly approved of despite it not being traditional with a huffy “Proper young ladies don’t do X, Y and Z and if I catch you doing it, you’re not part of the family any more” and every damned time her reaction to Phil’s being caught out doing something far worse was to shrug that things are different for him because he’s a boy, the dim-witted old biddy hen stoked the furnaces of their mutual animosity.
Secondly, she just couldn’t allow herself to see that her charging around like a moron re-arranging the dirt and her insistence that there is only one right way to do things is why Elly does the same.
Next, she never wanted to admit that most of why Elly left school so early was that she programmed her daughter to fail. A person cannot spend her entire life clucking in disdain about how college women threw their lives away chasing a career when they should have been chasing a man and turn around and not see why the child absorbing said nonsense gets her MRS degree instead of the BA Mommy wants to wave under the nose of her pals at the bridge club unless she wills herself not to.
Finally, she cannot allow herself to see that most of why there’s a double standard to enforce is that inferior men like Jim, John, Anthony, Greg, Ted, Mike and Phil fear competent women. Jim has gone on record as saying that his reaction to Rosie the Riveter was to yelp “Holy [Boxcar] [Saturn]!!! If dames remember that they’re competent, we won’t be necessary any more! Gotta go back to making them fear the neighbours again after we kill Hitler.” Simply put, Marian and Thérèse’s mother were induced to sabotage themselves and their daughters in the name of a very shallow historical tradition and they think that they’ve won something.