This is akin to how Elly has always seen herself as fat, ugly and thus unworthy of love while insisting that at an earlier time when she was also convinced of her decreptitude and fungibility, she had no problem with her appearance. This delusion that a life that was always one of martyrdom, pointless arguments and even more pointless punishments was a paradise from which they fell owing to the chaotic influence of the children is the first of the final Foob Facts:
Foob Fact Fifty: As a general rule, the Pattersons view whatever moment they are living in as being a precipitous decline from a happy past; said imaginary fall from grace is thought to lead them to a horrible future.
Of course, when I say a horrible future, I mean the collapse of John and Elly's marriage. Every God-damned panicky over-reaction to a non-event has as its basis Elly's dread that somehow, her marriage will die and she will thus become a discreditable threat to society like Ted or pre-marriage Connie and Phil just like her reproving shrew of a mother thought she would. This is the final means by which Elly's juvenile thinking and fear of chaos hampers her life because the reason she doesn't feel like mourning Thelma next June has to do with
Foob Fact Fifty-One: The Pattersons regard getting and remaining married as the be-all and end-all of human existence; this means that single people and people who cohabit are trying to destroy the world and usher in an era where Marian still wins everything all the time like when Elly was a kid.
and (of course)
Foob Fact Fifty-Two: Most of Elly's less pleasant behaviour has as its source the fact that her yapping moron of a mother refused to understand that Elly took the withering barrage of criticism she spewed for "her own good" to mean that Elly herself was worthless; she also fails to understand that her idiotic over-reaction to Elly's displaying a personality of her own has blighted the world with a woman who cannot deal with conflict.
This means that every time Elly freaks out, she, as I've said before, does so due to the reasonable fear that her idiot mother will barge in and take over and not realize how fucking damaging being the short-sighted, house-proud and rock stupid muttonhead called 'an Englishwoman' does to children and other living things.