Of course, the inability that Lynn and her creations have with understanding the real consequences of violence is that they never really bother paying attention to the world around them if they can avoid it. Somewhere along the way, Lynn got it into her head that other people would be doing all the boring, scary paying attention for her so she could smile her way through life without having to do anything all that unpleasant or to worry about things. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to use Lizardbreath as an example of why that might not be the best way to live your life.
As I’ve said before, when I think of Liz Patterson, I see a blank-eyed, frowning ten year old girl staring woefully at me. She doesn’t know what’s going on around her, she has no idea how she got where she is but she does know that she doesn’t like what’s happening. The reason why this is relates to that strip I linked to that had Mike be a surly jerk to everyone and not realize that he’d antagonized the others. It seems to me that since Elly doesn’t want to pay attention to her because it would mean giving up her own life and since John’s default reaction to the little room-mates who are freeloading off of him is to snarl “Go away. Daddy’s tired” and “I pay for things; isn’t that enough?” and since both delinquent parents assume that children are born knowing how the world works, he and his siblings grew up not understanding social norms and not being able to pick up on certain cues.
Let’s start with her thinking that she was only imagining that Anthony might be interested in her. Since she was never taught that if someone is always underfoot, it might not be a coincidence, the poor dodo spent days on end wistfully sighing about how alone and unloved she was when Twoo Wuv was staring her right in the face. Her inability to pay heed to the effect her words had on others and refusal to consider the possibility that Eric might have different ideas about the trajectory of the grand romance she made up led her to her next one-two punch of being made a fool of. First off, she ignored warnings from friends that Eric was a player because she didn’t want to listen; she was unwilling to look at what he was doing because that would end up meaning that she was heading for a fall. Second, she wound up making an enemy of Thérèse because she wasn’t paying attention to what the woman was saying.
You see, according to Anthony’s Liography, Thérèse is crippled by the fear of becoming her mother; the idea that she too would smile and trade her self-respect for social standing while her husband betrayed her with an endless succession of blond gold-diggers terrified her. What seems to have happened is that Thérèse made the catastrophic error of assuming that Liz knew what she was doing; their first encounter led to lasting enmity because the Evil, Child-Hating Career Woman and Oblivious, Passive Lizzie argued at cross-purposes because it didn’t track that someone could be that stupid or blind. Sitting Elizabeth down and explaining “Hey! You’ve got a live-in boyfriend and it looks like you’re making the moves on someone because that lying rat bastard of a someone is trying to make it look that way! No freaking wonder she doesn’t like you!” would be an exercise in futility because she doesn’t have the ability to look at the situation and realize “Holy Damn-it Christmas! He’s trying to get me to yell ‘Get your hands off my man!’ at this woman!” Since she's a dozy twit who can only look at the surface of things, she instead grouses about the irrational jealousy of someone who could have been a friend otherwise.
This astonishing inability to understand the basic social norms that other people use to regulate how they treat one another is pretty much why she thinks that she made up Paul. We know from her Retcons that she spent most of her time in Mtigatingcircumstances crippled by a longing for home but since she didn’t learn to share information like that with those around her, it never occurred to her to tell the man that. Things would have gone a lot more smoothly had she realized that she had to discuss the issue with him first before yelling “WAIT!!!” at computer screens.
This leads me to a bit of idle speculation. I can see a scenario in which Paul and Thérèse compare notes and realize that Liz Patterson might actually be so stupid that she can’t listen to herself.