dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
The interesting thing about the "Mike waits for the Hormone Fairy to arrive" sequence is that it ends with John cheerfully admitting that he spent his teenaged years drooling at the girls as they started to develop. This is because it almost organically flows into the next arc: Elly fretting about how she looks in contemporary swim wear and yowling about how selfish, evil MEN no longer saw fit to provide her a suit that makes her feel desirable and attractive and thin. The problem is that people around her remember something she'd prefer not to: she can't look in the mirror and actually see someone reasonably pleasant looking.

It's sadly obvious why she doesn't want to draw the logical conclusion implicit in her never allowing herself to be consoled when she's having a 'fat' day. First off, we'd have to have her look at her past and admit that she's simply not wired to be happy with who she is or what she looks like. It's not NORMAL to be unable to be happy and wanting to be normal is pretty much what Elly lives for so her inability to take pleasure in life is something she can't admit to. Also, she'd have to look back and see that maybe, she'd misjudged people and situations and that would lead to the humiliation she's been fleeing from ever since her damaged mother conflated high spirits with being tyrannized: being forced to apologize for something.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

Now, as I explained about a week or so ago, most of what drives Elly crazy when Lizzie loses her tooth is her making the same stupid mistake she always makes when her children do something inconvenient and dumb. Lynn and Elly foreshadow why Elly thinks dark thoughts about frightened, confused and heartsick children who don’t realize why Mommy is so damned angry all the time when she warns Lizzie not to make it too tough on the tooth fairy only to have Liz insist that yes, she is going to be the child who can confirm the figure’s existence.

As I said before, Elly thought that Lizzie knows that the tooth fairy is fake and simply wants to catch Mommy putting a quarter under her pillow to make life worse for everyone because she has the damnedest time realizing that her children haven’t figured out what is and isn’t real yet. (It should also be noted that she believes that her children realize that they’re shorter than what a normal person should be for the same damned reason.) This means that instead of reassuring an unhappy child who thinks that she’s pissed off the Tooth Fairy, the angry dumbass insists on wanting to belt the poor little girl because the alternative is admitting that she can’t race around assuming that her children are simply extensions of herself but are really people in their own right. Also, it should be noted that her whining about how Lizzie should not grow so fast because she can’t keep up is not only self-serving, it’s sort of stupid because anyone with a brain would realize that Elly was sending out frantic “I’m the tooth fairy” signals that she’s lucky Lizzie didn’t pick up on.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
The irritating thing about having to watch Elly at Mike's hockey practice is not that she doesn't like him doing anything that isn't a chore that makes her life easier by showing his love for her by erasing every trace he might have of an individual identity. Most comic strip housewives labour under the misapprehension that their function is to take the people in their vicinity and erode away any impulse they might have that diverts them from the life they think they have to live. You can't read a comic strip with a female protagonist that doesn't have her get her nose out of joint because some evil, conflict-causing MAN denies that there's more to life than pointless chores, random periods of unconsciousness and, as a reward for a life of dull, useless toil, the sweet release of death.

Elly's stupidly sitting in the seat she takes without even realizing that the Thought Police aren't going to show up and shoot her if she moves around or anything is visual shorthand for this mental defect she's got. Just as she only thought that the point of an Easter parade was to reassure the other parents that she could force a balking child to do what she was told, sitting until her ass is numb is yet another of the false obligations that only exist inside her empty head.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As we know, the lasting result of the blizzard is that Elly ends up having to drive a loaner for a couple of weeks until they get her station wagon fixed. She needs wheels and John isn't about to expose his kids to the Penis-Mobile of Overcompensation because he is at pains to keep tiny hands from ruining his stuff. The reason for this is very simple: John had to give away his own all-weather vehicle in order to be 'fair' to Elly and also because the simpleton couldn't get it through her thick skull why two people needed three cars.

This turns out to be something of a recurring pattern with Elly. She strong-arms someone into making a stupid decision in the interest of 'fairness' and squawks in outrage when the inevitable happens and it comes back to bite her in the arse. If John had been allowed to keep his sedan, she would have at least had wheels after the snowplow nailed her ride for her. Similarly, if she hadn't decided to make things fair for Mike and Dee after the fire, she could have parked in the damned garage.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you know, there used to be a one-season wonder animated series starring the Pattersons. Since Lynn seems to have had the same obsessive need to stay on message that destroyed her hopes of being a children's author, it was a lot like the strip in that we had the characters endure the same stupid crap for the same idiotic reasons. Since it is December, I should think that the Later Years segment of the Christmas episode should do as an example.

As you can see, the segment starts out in the kitchen with Elly preparing to make eggnog only to find that she's out of nutmeg. While John and Jim are vaguely sympathetic, they point out that lots of people do without it so it isn't a big deal; they do so in vain because Elly wants to make it a big deal because she keeps muttering that nothing is the same any more. After John and April put the star on the tree because Mike is on the fence about driving through a snow storm to get home from Uni, we have Elly make a big ugly fool of herself because Liz and April's playing a headache music Christmas song causes yet another fragile object Mike bought her for Christmas to get broken. Said breakage occurs because April stumbled into the tree to avoid the unpleasant phenomenon called "shouting blowhard mother making a big deal over nothing". An ugly scene between Liz and Elly transpires and Elly storms off to the kitchen after blubbering that nothing is ever the same.

After Liz and Elly go off to neutral corners, John explains what traditions are and Elly starts getting all sentimental about how Marian is no longer their to brainlessly nag her and how Mike's going to open his crap in the afternoon and that makes her sad. Jim quietly tells her that Marian is still sort of there because he and Elly still anticipate her constant stream of unsolicited advice and Mike's absence isn't the end of the world and she kind of chills when it's driven home that if she were to talk about a problem, it would go away. The problem is, of course, that learning morals is not something Elly does. Always and ever, her fear of being seen as being weak and silly makes her clam up and things fester stupidly.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The odd thing about the ice scraper incident is not that Elly looks like a big idiot standing around in a driveway being pointlessly upset because her need to show off how generous she is backfired on her. It's not that she won't admit that if she wanted the kids to park in the driveway while she parked in the garage, she should have said so instead of brainlessly assuming people read minds. It's not that she probably got pissed off at John when she caught wind of the fact that once again, he acted while she pouted and talked the kids into doing what she wanted because his doing things while she fumed made her feel like the idiot she is. The odd thing is that we could have predicted the whole damned thing decades beforehand when she was forced to shop for winter gear.

You see, next October, Liz comes in and tells Elly that her old snowsuit is too tight to wear. Elly's response is to panic because she bought the thing extra-big this year because she thought it would fit next year. Someone rational would realize that she failed to anticipate how Lizzie would grow and simply get a new one that won't rip all the hell to pieces. Elly doesn't do rational. Elly thinks that her children are deliberately growing larger than they should to make her life worse. Elly also doesn't do things to make her life easier. It would be dead easy to go to a nice consignment shop to save some cash and still get nice clothes they'd like to wear but she can't jolly well impress people that way. Doing the sane, convenient and responsible thing is what she does when she's exhausted all the stupid alternatives she uses to complicate her life. This means that she pretty much had to be a passive victim of the Housening because she would have been a big dumb obstacle to making people's lives easier.
dreadedcandiru2: (Cynical Candiru)
To continue on from yesterday, it's rather hard to really sympathize with Elly when she screams about how important her many, many meetings are because they seem to me to be the public equivalent of the mounds of laundry she does every day. This is owing to the fact that just as the great big job at the library she'd invested pretty much most of her identity in turned out to be "glorified intern", it's sort of obvious that the only reason people on committees would miss her is that she's the answer to the question "What pathetic and needy idiot can we dump all of this useless busywork onto?"

The reason I'm confident about that is that Elly reminds me of a lot of people I knew in high school; they just couldn't sit still no matter what and they had a need to be thought well of that was painful to behold. When these flaws marched in lockstep, the sufferer would almost always end up becoming a public service announcement warning people about the dangers of over-extending and over-committing. Given that Elly is pretty much the same moron she was when she was a plastic flower child driving her mother bonkers, the yearning for approval and terror of inactivity still sabotage her. Hell, the present day Elly is still burning herself into the ground being somebody's damned packmule.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we know, Lynn likes certain recurring themes because they speak to her experiences. A few years ago, she got rather blunt about one of said themes when we contrasted Mike's breezy declaration that no one has to work over the holidays with Elly's having to work harder than ever AND her family's inability-slash-refusal to lighten her burden to the least degree. The premise is that they only ever notice what she does when she isn't doing it and will only ever think to appreciate what she does long after she's died. We are thus invited to clutch her to our collective bosom and cry bitter, angry tears about the unfortunate woman and the hateful, cruel and selfish family who go out of their way to disrespect and mistreat her.

The problem with that is that if given the opportunity to relax, she tends to get kind of antsy. There's an arc next year that looks like it could both be "Elly's evil children want to keep her from making her way in the world" and "Elly is too big a deal to simply spend a quiet evening at home with the kids once in a while". This seems to be due to the fact that Elly has the subconscious dread that if she's caught out simply enjoying life without stressing about how the towels are folded, her idiot mother will materialize out of the aether and start whining about how big a God-damned disappointment she always was. This is why she needs to have an agenda of things to DO when she does anything with the family: she doesn't want to be thought of as some idiot kid just wasting time smelling roses when there's so much stuff to do. It's probably why she allows people to dump their joe-boy jobs in her lap like a steaming hot bowl of pointless busywork.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
For long-term readers like myself, there's nothing quite as interesting as a trip back to the very early years in order to provide context for what we see in the current batch of reruns. One example is the very early strip in which John is baffled by the nebulous nature of Elly's discontent. She can't put why she's out of sorts into words but she knows that she feels that family life is not nearly what it's cracked up to be and for whatever reason she can't express, she knows she doesn't much like the idea of staying home and being taken for granted while everyone else gets to go out and have a public identity. It doesn't seem fair to her that she should wait because she's haunted by nightmares she doesn't realize she has of people only ever appreciating her and thinking that she should have had a life thirty years after she died.

The reason that I mention this is that most of what drives the conflict between her and the kids is a fear she cannot express. Every single thing the children do seems to terrify her for a reason she doesn't consciously know. If you were to suggest to her that she seems to fear that either a crowd of vigilantes will shoot her down in the street for being a bad mother or that her mother will materialize out of the ether and tell her to go to her room and think about what she's done while she raises the children properly, she'll actively deny it despite those being the content of her dreams. Her waking mind is protecting her from seeing the nightmare fantasy images but it can't protect her from the fear those images inspire. Thus, the endless gobsmackage. Thus, I should think, also the recurring image in Mike's later books of an otherwise kind person being twisted into a fearful fury by images of great suffering that baffles his mother. Who is this angry, anxious mother filled with fear and doubt and why does she feel as if no one cares? Certainly not her.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Watching Mike wale on Lizzie and watching Elly do nothing constructive to protect Lizzie from the looming shape of imbecile malice that warped her personality reminds us that Elly set herself up to fail when trying to form a connection with Liz and April by demonstrating a refusal to be for them when it counted. Elly did nothing but wring her hands feebly and whine about something she was never going to do anything to fix when Mike physically and emotionally abused Elizabeth and her reaction to the Jeremy phenomenon was to make pious noise about being nice to an angry lunatic who needed to be locked up and forgotten so it's kind of hard to sympathize with her when they turn to anyone but the mother who only thinks that she's supportive.

It's equally not hard to see why they'd turn to John for help. In Lizzie's case, she can exploit his hatred of Mike for being a slow-witted jerk who doesn't understand what he's doing to piss people off in order to have someone who'll barge in one fine day and cold wreck the Delicate Genius for being a raging shithead with the brain damage. In April's case, it's obvious that both of them have bonded over the realization that Elly ain't living in the real world. Granted, John becomes useless when they're adolescents because he doesn't understand that teenaged alienation shouldn't be taken personally but now that they're grown, he can revert to running interference when Elly witlessly counsels genuflecting to moron tormentors.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Recently, [livejournal.com profile] aprilp_katje linked to a strip that had Elly have no real idea what she would have done with her Bachelor Of Arts degree if she ever bothered getting it. The interesting thing is not that she joins most of the cast in assuming sight unseen that getting married and having kids and getting her degree were mutually exlusive (which is the subject an upcoming look at the collective stupidity of the Patterson family) but that she has no more idea of what she would have done with it than she has any idea of what Marian really expected of her.

The reason for this is that it's easier for Elly to make a self-serving assumption that cast her mother in the most negative light because it spared her the awful burden of having to see her as anything other than a heartless antagonist who yearned to see her feel terrible and ugly and stupid and confused and miserable. To live in the World That Is in which Marian was a fallible human being doing her stupid best instead of the World That Makes Her Feel Good in which Marian was an ogre who loved every minute of busting Elly's ass is a horrible thing because it makes Elly into part of the problem. It's thus simpler for Elly to assume that her awful mother wanted her to die alone and for her grandchildren to never be born because she doesn't want to admit that she should have told John to shove his passive-aggressive huffing and puffing about living in a hooooooome up his God-damned ass, a deal is a God-damned deal.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we saw yesterday, a key factor in the disconnection between what Elly wants to see happening and what actually happens is something she herself either does or does not do. Her pious insistence on filling bookshelves with boring textbooks and dull encyclopedias because she actively hates the sort of book that might actually have had a shot at making her children active readers because she thinks they need saving from 'trash' that's 'bad' for them has had what's called a revenge effect. In short, she's set herself up to fail by doing what she only thinks is the right thing.

It so happens that this is a recurring pattern that leads her to think terrible thoughts about terrible people who hate her and show that hatred by asking her the horrible and evil question "What did you think was GOING to happen?" One of the most annoying iterations of this was watching her allow Mike to smirk her into changing out of a pair of shorts only to violently object later on when he treated her with the disrespect she'd established herself as permitting. Elly isn't going to ever admit that she sets herself up to fail any more than she's going to admit that what she thinks is happening isn't actually happening at all. Doing that would mean that she's the idiotic failure her mother says she is.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Now, if you'll recall your early history of the Pattersons, you'll remember that Elly had the expectation that when she was done supporting John during the post-grad era and he'd established himself, she could pick up where she left off and please her mother by getting her Bachelor Of Arts degree. It didn't quite work out that way because, well, the repellent choad thought that one of the things he should have been praised for saving her from was getting a degree. Given the setting, it's sort of obvious that the fifty year delay looks like a denial because even if he does convince himself he's being a wonderfully progressive person for letting her get that degree that seems to have been a potential reason that she resented her lot in life, it's too fucking late to do anything with it. That being said, Elly has no right to complain because she let John walk all over her because she was afraid of losing his ass and reverting to the status of 'child' instead of progressing to the status of 'woman who dodged a big, stupid, entitled bullet.'

This is where an annoying habit people have of protecting themselves from having to admit to having pointlessly endured needless suffering at the hands of imbeciles comes into play. I should think that if April were to have the horribly poor luck of expressing sympathy for Elly because of the long, long delay in realizing her dream and so on, she'd be met with Elly defiantly claiming to have survived quite well without it. This is so she can look down on and feign sympathy for Therese for the same reason everyone else does: she eventually grew sick of her life and told Anthony to shove his narrow point of view up his scrawny ass. The need Elly had to be in a relationship that's based mostly on her exploitation because the alternative seemed scarier blinds her to the fact that most of the men in her life don't like the idea of people not buying the bullshit they're selling. Since she can't deflect her asshole husband and doesn't really want to live without him, she really is responsible for her own problems. So is Liz for the same reason. So is Deanna for quite another.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Now to get back to the snowstorm arc, I'd like to call your attention to a Sunday strip that was published at roughly the same time in which Phil terrifies her by hauling out a camcorder, taking a video of her and the family and forcing her to watch. She hates what she sees because of two factors: her appearance and her voice. She can't believe that she looks like the person she sees on the screen and can't believe that her voice sounds the way it does to other people. Simply put, it angers, saddens and fascinates her that she sounds like an angry, short-tempered and stubborn loudmouth. What makes things worse is that John and her mother are right to tell her that she doesn't so much need to lose a fictitious ten pounds that isn't actually what's making her miserable as she needs to learn to stand up straight instead of being slumped over as if someone turned up the gravity on her.

Accepting this is a no-go, though. Accepting that the 'pot' would go away if she didn't slump forward as if the weight of ten worlds was on her shoulders would mean accepting that her problems aren't what they think they are and not as serious as she believes. If she can't behave as if everything is a potentially lethal threat that cannot be laughed off, she believes that no one will take her seriously and think of her as a pathetic zero who they can only laugh at. The problem is that people actually think of her as a humorless psycho running around in a blind panic over ghosts, lies and bullshit married to a boorish stick-in-the-mud who, while being the chapter president of the League of Misinformed Voters, cannot tolerate any sort of screw-up by those around him.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
You want to know what's really interesting about the bake sale mess? It isn't that Elly is yet again biting off more than she can chew because she thinks Miss Lyon would react negatively to her doing the smart thing that she wants to do and politely extract herself from the situation. If it were simply a case of stupid Elly stupidly over-exerting herself because of her stupid belief that if she were to fail to fulfill an obligation that doesn't actually exist, Miss Lyon would spread the word that the AWFUL Patterson woman simply can never be relied on to do anything and, yes, damn it, the Quality Women would never allow her to join their ranks.

The interesting thing also isn't that Elly is too stupid to realize that the obligation never existed in the first place because she doesn't live in the real world where teachers take the overblown comments of five year olds at face value. She lives in a stupid world where, yes, damn it, Miss Lyon put her name down and will exact brutal revenge if she declines. She also lives in another, stupider world: a world in which her children will freak out and throw fits if she wants time to herself. Mike only does that sort of thing when his stupid-ass frienemies are on his case about how she's deliberately trying to embarrass his dumb ass so her concern in this area is, shall we say, overblown and silly. Mike will not die if she doesn't sit in the stands bellowing "SKATE" like an imbecile and Lizzie flat-out told her that no, she will not be crushed if Mommy just sends a plate of cookies to take to be sold.

Of course, this leads to another interesting thing: Mike's stupid-ass attempt to make up for all of this by throwing his "buddy" the Martian under the bus. Not only did he volunteer her to serve at Lilliput's, I should think that most of the reason that April had no support at all growing up is that he gave Elly license to sit on her fat ass complaining about how the princess expected too damned much.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing that I've noticed about this arc is that we're a week or two away from Elly saying something amazingly insensitive and stupid about Ted and Irene. While she defends her idiotic remark by insisting that getting involved in someone else's mess like a dimwit is the best way to help Connie, she later repents of her actions because that awful voice people call a conscience calls her an abrasive dunderhead who refuses to learn from experience.

The reason that I find that interesting is that I cannot help but contrast it with the end of the "Elly bans television because she blames it for her children cursing despite it being fairly obvious that her own habit of using language that would scandalize Lenny Bruce is the actual problem" arc in which Connie essentially tells her "Go on and blame someone else for your own stupidity like you always do. It's cool." This form of emotional support is also why Connie smilingly enables Elly's delusion that her children keep their room messy and listen to headache music to defy and torment her and not as a means of defending themselves from having their living space picked over by a lunatic who wants to erase their personalities.

Simply put, the reason that Elly loves having Connie around is that she is as ready to blame her children for her own catastrophic total failure as a wife, mother, daughter, citizen and multicellular carbon-based life form as Elly herself is. This means that she never need hear awful things like "Hey, dummy! Do you know what 'picking your battles' means?" or "Hey, stupid!!! Maybe you should actually listen to April about this Kortney person!" or even "Given that the more you shout and threaten, the less the kids are willing to talk to you or listen to what you have to say, wouldn't it be a good idea to calm down, quit acting like you're under siege and realize that maybe you've read them all wrong all this time?" It's easier listening to Connie and her "Go forth and be a shrill, belligerent, judgmental and ignorant wacko" because being stupid means never having to say "I'm sorry."
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, it's not just the need Elly has to prevent her children from growing up too fast (which, since that naturally leads to her having no purpose in life, would necessitate her immediate death) or her desire to prevent unauthorized people (like other children or Evil, Conflict Causing Men who want to make women feel bad about themselves) decide what children should wear that cause her to lose her already tenuous grip on reality when it comes time to buy clothing for the children. John is far and away the better parent in this respect because he isn't sick with the paranoid dread that the children are deliberately growing faster than he expected them to so as to prevent him from getting new clothes.

We're about a year or so away from seeing this survival of Elly's baffling dread when she gets all panicky and stupid because the snowsuit she bought Lizzie is too small despite her buying it the size she thought Lizzie would be. Instead of simply admitting that she had guessed wrong and that Lizzie hadn't decided to grow larger than Mommy expected she would to be mean to her, dimwit Elly persisted in thinking like the nutbag from the early eighties and GROOOOOOANED!!!! in despair. This led to her going on a shopping spree to buy expensive new clothes for the children and Mike wondering howcome she never seemed to buy any new things for herself. The intent of this was clearly to make the kids look like ungrateful monsters who refused to see that because they made demand after demand, their poor mother simply couldn't enjoy life BUT the problem is that sane people see something entirely different.

What sane people see is a woman who was taught to martyr herself growing up as a sort of means of getting the attention her imbecile parents seemed to lavish on her kid brother just for breathing and also as a means of making herself look better to a mostly imaginary group of Quality Women who decide her worth for her. We know that Elly could very easily have bought herself something nice for herself but her conscious mind told her getting stuff for herself when the kids were there made her look like a failure as a person and thus unworthy to join the Respectable Ladies teamed up with the subconscious mind that wanted her children to wail piteously about how terrible and cruel they are to expect her to give and give and give to keep her from doing the smart thing. 
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
We're going to have to wait a while to see it but I think that the strip in which, having reached the limits of his endurance, Phil essays to once and for all make Elly see that, no, she wasn't some sat-on slave girl who was never allowed to win and no, he wasn't some coddled golden child who would have gotten away with murder is a sort of clue as to the fourth critical fact that explains who she is. This fact is that her feeling that the fates deal a stacked deck of marked cards against her is too deeply embedded in her psyche to be argued, jollied or reasoned away.

This is sort of why John can never quite understand why it is that someone who's still pretty much the same slender girl he fell for only with unaddressed posture issues she won't admit exists insists on commenting on how fat and pale and ugly and unworthy of love she is. He simply can't understand that he can't fix the problem because it goes too damned deep. He also can't understand why Elly doesn't see the real problem with the kids. His idea of the real problem is that they forget their place while her idea is that they seem to be conspiring to disgrace her and thus open her up to more bullshit about incompetence from her idiot mother.

This need of hers to see them as threats to the status she only thinks is precarious is sort of why she gets too damned angry with them. She regrets having to explode when her conscious mind sees good kids who make mistakes and fears screwing up but her subconscious mind is too afraid of censure to allow her to be tolerant and lenient. Also, she's got something of a temper even on the best days and it shows. This means that we're going to be in for a rocky decade as she clashes with her well-intentioned but short-sighted clod of a son. More on him next.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The very odd thing about when Connie packs up and leaves is something that I've mentioned before: Elly's need to take every little thing that goes on around her and make it about herself. As I mentioned the last time I talked about this, she's far less focused on the disruption in the lives of those around her and far more on the fact that she can't walk down the road and have coffee with Connie any longer because she sees the woman as a sister. Annie and Carol Enjo might be willing participants in a kaffeeklatsch but to Elly, no one could really take the place of her college chum. This is why she's willing to overlook any number of inconvenient truths about the "wonderful" man who brings Connie back to her. Is he a manipulative twit and a seething homophobe? Doesn't matter because, hey, Connie is back.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you know, one of the most common and annoying sights in the strip is a character making that irritating, palms-down pleading gesture that looks so fake and stupid and silly, it hurts to look at. The reason for this is that the submissive, pleading stance makes no sense in the situations that Elly has to contend with. Given that Elly has never been threatened with physical harm and should not expect to be, the body language appropriate to a person desperately pleading with an aggressor to not deliver as bad an expected beating as he or she could makes no sense.

The problem is that it doesn't actually have to make sense. Remember when Elly expected John to explode with rage and beat her half to death over a dented fender? Remember how confused John was by her expectation that he become a punitive brute? What we know that he doesn't is that the narcissistic idiot he married has a fixation on being punished for made-up sins. The same self-hatred that makes her look in the mirror and see an unsightly tub of lard makes her think that people are trying to smack her around for making good-faith mistakes. She isn't aware of this and thus would angrily deny that the frightened child in her is making her block a blow to her vital organs but she's aware of so little about herself, it fits that she doesn't know why she slouches.

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