Lorraine feels a degree of sympathy for her mother because she is an empathetic young girl, and she knows her mother really does have a difficult life. Lorraine's mother is working at a job she hates in order to support herself and Lorraine; Lorraine says,
As I watched her I remembered all the times she said how hard it was to be a nurse - how bad it was for the legs, how painful the varicose veins were that nurses always got from being on their feet so much. I could see her standing under the street light...just standing there until the bus came. It was easy to feel sorry for her, to see how awful her life was - even to understand a little why she picked on me so" (Chapter 8).
Lorraine also understands why her mother is so suspicious of the motives of men, and why she hates them so much. Lorraine's father had cheated on her mother, and her mother had found out about his infidelity when she was pregnant with Lorraine, and the doctor told her that she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease from her husband, who had gotten it from another woman. Lorraine's mother and father had been "childhood sweethearts," and Lorraine can see why the revelation of her husband's waywardness "must have been awful for her" (Chapter 9).