From what little is said about the mother of Mama Elena, it can be inferred that she was tyrannical like her daughter. As the matriarch of the family when Nacha was a young servant, Mama Elena’s mother separated Nacha from her fiancée by sending him away for no reason. She also prevented Mama Elena from being with her true love, Jose Treviño, and instead pressured her to marry Juan de la Garza instead.
The timeline below shows where the character Mama Elena’s mother appears in Like Water for Chocolate. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: February – “Chabela Wedding Cake.”
...each time wishing the next wedding would be hers. She remembers her own fiancé, who Mama Elena’s mother had forced away. Nacha spends all night crying, and the next day she is too... (full context)