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How do you deal with people who lie about or exaggerate traumatic experiences?

This seems to come up every Veteran's Day, but it's not just a vet thing. Nobody who has gone through combat just freely sits around talking and sharing stories about it with just anyone. Most vets will never tell their spouse or children even 1/10 of what they've seen. The only people they'll really talk to about it are other vets. This is also true of people who experience rape, child abuse, etc.

If someone is spouting off their "experience" as just another story to tell, that's generally a huge red flag that the person is full of shit. When you have to deal with someone like that, who is basically slapping all real vets or victims or whichever group in the face by using that kind of story as a ME TOO, do you call them on it? Do you tune them out? Do you just smile and not, the entire time thinking you have no respect for them the more they talk?

Answer Question
 
NotPanicking

Asked by NotPanicking at 6:17 PM on Nov. 12, 2013 in Relationships

Level 51 (421,172 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • Most of the time I call them on it, however some are just so far out there that they honestly believe what they are spewing to be so. they defend it to no end and make every story before fit it perfectly so that others run to defend them when called out on it.
    luvmygrandgirl

    Answer by luvmygrandgirl at 6:20 PM on Nov. 12, 2013

  • I hear them out. My husband used to hang out with a group of guys who would drink and talk about their experience in Haditha. He's never told me much and my dad never talked about Vietnam. I only discovered a lot of it by looking at his old slides after he died and now I know why he never talked about it. He kept those slides hidden in boxes in the little attic crawl space all my life. Out of sight, out of mind.
    Izsarejman

    Answer by Izsarejman at 6:30 PM on Nov. 12, 2013

  • I usually ignore them. My father and uncles would never talk about it. My FIL was stateside shipping kids off to war but never saw a battle only the before and after and he does not talk about it.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 6:31 PM on Nov. 12, 2013

  • I tend to just ignore it, since I do not know their full story. However something really did irk me this Veterans Day. 2 of my cousins were in the Air Force and HATED it. I mean every single day complaining on FB about how bad being in the military sucked and that they couldn't wait to get out. One has been out for a while now and his little brother is now on terminal leave (at the end of his 4 years). However suddenly on Monday they are posting pictures of themselves in uniform and talking about how they are proud that they were able to save lives. THAT pissed me off. My husband never boasts about himself and how awesome he is for serving and he 100% loves the military.
    AF4life

    Answer by AF4life at 6:35 PM on Nov. 12, 2013

  • I do think it's bizarre. I have not had a perfect life. So, there are things that I do not share. I don't understand those that just spout out everything.
    3libras

    Answer by 3libras at 6:40 PM on Nov. 12, 2013

  • My Dad was in the Korean War. He was in combat & never spoke about it. He only told us stories about huge Rats in the fox holes & made us laugh. He had PTSD when he & my Mom married but at that time there was no lable to it. He'd jump out of bed at night & try to push my Mom under the bed to be safe. He had lots of friends in later years that had lots of stories about the war but it turned out that they worked in the mess halls & never saw combat.
    ILovemyPaulie

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 6:42 PM on Nov. 12, 2013

  • I try to ignore them. They usually have sad little lives and need to be the center of attention. I try not to feed their addiction.
    SleepingBeautee

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 6:44 PM on Nov. 12, 2013

  • Makes zero difference to my life if a story is real or not. If they want to tell me a story I will listen without judging.
    staciandababy

    Answer by staciandababy at 6:48 PM on Nov. 12, 2013

  • I take what they say at face value, unless I know fore certain that they're blowing smoke. It's not really my place to judge them.

    I have an uncle that stepped on a land mine in Vietnam. It blew off one of his hands, and one leg is a good 6 inches shorter than the other. He STILL won't talk about what happened, other than to say he stepped on a land mine.

    I was in the Army, stationed in Germany when the towers fell. After all the heightened security, and a shitty chain of command, I became depressed and eventually homicidal/suicidal. For at least 5 years after it happened I wouldn't talk about it to anyone. Now, I'll be frank if someone asks me, but I don't volunteer the information to every random stranger on the street.
    Rosehawk

    Answer by Rosehawk at 6:49 PM on Nov. 12, 2013

  • My military career left me with emotional scars that were not combat related. I refused to make my FB pic me in uniform and I don't think my dad was proud of his service enough to want us showing his pic off. My sister was in the national guard for six months and she was all puffing her chest about it. She went through training and got pregnant and out. But dammit if she wasn't posting shit about what an honor it was to serve. A few people on my friend list were students and one got kicked out for drugs less halfway through his training but he was saying the same shit about what it meant to serve.

    I had to keep my remarks to myself yesterday so I know what you mean.
    Izsarejman

    Answer by Izsarejman at 6:53 PM on Nov. 12, 2013

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