As I've said in the past, part of the reason that Phil doesn't understand this is that he doesn't understand what Elly means when she says that yes, she is encouraging him. Since Phil is a bit of a thickie when Elly is concerned, he doesn't realize that she means that yes, she is calling him a lazy failure who selfishly refuses to take his life seriously because he hates her and yes, she is withholding sympathy because she doesn't want him to become an entitled monster. She's certain that if she nags him hard enough, denies that what he does is good enough and shows no sign of sympathy, he's sure to excel and thank her and stop thinking of her as a cruel and heartless monster who delights in his misery.
This intensely stupid and counter-productive means of guaranteeing that Mike will give things up in despair for reasons that can't possibly be related to her thinking that the best way to show she cares and wants the best for him is to look like a monster who hates him and can never be pleased with him would be bad enough were it not for his filling his head with mush about how people who are better than him at something only got better so they could be jerks to him. Every time she and John defame someone unfairly for trying to crush them with their family politics, they ensure that their children can't believe in the good will of other people.