Similarly, John is seen as a rather ludicrous hermit with a bizarre fixation, Mike as a terrible father and parent, Liz as another charity case who needs to be married to yet another pathetic idiot who can't really make it and April as a screaming loon baying about a has-been. This disconnect between their glorious self-image and what people actually see is best expressed as the zeroth Foob Fact:
Foob Fact Zero: When most people think of the Patterson family, they either see an average family more or less similar to their own or as mildly sinister incompetents who don't realize how dim they are.
This is why it's always rather annoying to have to watch Elly huff and puff about how she and her family should have final say over everything that happens in the strip. This is a woman who isn't smart enough to run her own life but she arrogates to herself the right to decide if it's okay for Ed and Thelma to simply date sort of and not rush to the altar for fear of offending every random idiot on the face of the Earth. If Elly had a competent mother who could see what was in front of her instead of clucking her stupid tongue and saying that a child who thought she was despised knew she was loved, we might not have to deal with calamities like Lizzie getting double-teamed by moron parents who don't accept human weakness.