- A father whose intellect she didn't think had survived a series of massive strokes and her fear that she might actually somehow prefer it if he had been unmanned.
- A husband and daughter-in-law who'd somehow gotten her to leave her home so that he could play with trains and she could jam it to her mother.
- The worry that her detractors are right about her shoving her older daughter into marrying someone she might not love just because she doesn't like being scared by the unknown.
- The bigger worry that she's taking out her frustration at not having the brains and stamina to make a go of the career she wanted on her younger daughter.
- The really, REALLY big fear that she'd wasted most of her life feeling sorry for herself.
Now, the problem is that any one of those issues is so big, Elly's mind simply seems to shut down because it's too big to deal with. This mental paralysis seems to create a sort of emotional paralysis in which she cannot react to the issue in a realistic manner. Instead of being worried about her dad or her husband or whether she's angry at this woman Thérèse because she did what she could not, we get a sort of sinister placidity. The problem is that the emotional energy thus denied has to go somewhere and thus tends to rain down on people who make her mildly upset.