Ruth was a traditional housewife who stayed at home and raised her children, hence having a view that a woman's place is at home. This is shown as one of the reasons for her dislike of her daughter-in-law Helen, who she sees as neglecting her husband because of her work. She also discourages her granddaughter Quinn from becoming a doctor, saying that she should marry a nice doctor instead.
Ruth seems to have suffered (and still suffers) as much as Jake did from the bullying of her husband "Mad Dog." She first describes him as a decent man, but later starts remembering his faults (including never having been given enough money to care for the house and children—the only indication Jake has siblings) and expresses regret that she let Jake be sent to military school.
She apologizes to Jake for never having stood up for her son against him, admitting that she would do a lot of things differently if given the chance. Daria later reminds her of this comment when she's criticizing Helen and Quinn, and Ruth decides to leave, realizing her visit is causing more harm than good.