Lying about my work

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    Apr 10, 2012 3:56 PM GMT
    Here is my dilemma:

    I am in the Army. This is my second deployment to a combat zone. I am not a dishonest person, but when it comes to telling my family and loved ones about what I do, I am not completely honest if not outright lie to them.

    I have been told recently (by someone close to me and of whom I care deeply for) that a lie is a lie and that if I truly loved someone I would not lie. Even if it involves the missions that I go on and/or the things that happen in the missions.

    I tell my family that all is good, nothing really happens. We go on patrol missions and talk to the locals and that is about it. Many times the truth is FAR different from what I tell them. I don't want my family to know what my fellow soldiers or I have to deal with and I don't want/need my family/loved ones worrying anymore then they already are. Some of the things that we have do deal with they wouldn't understand anyway nor would I want to tell them or talk to them about it. Hell, I am afraid that if they knew the truth then THEY might start having nightmares.

    Here is my question:
    Is it wrong for me to keep the truth about what I do from my family and loved ones? Is it wrong of me to lie to them about these things?
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    Apr 10, 2012 4:13 PM GMT
    Sometimes we do the right things for the wrong reasons. Sometimes we do the wrong things for the right reasons.
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    Apr 10, 2012 4:17 PM GMT
    I personally don't mind lying in itself as much as the intent of the lie.... if the intent is to deceive someone for your own benefits, I think it is wrong... in this case, the intent to me is not such a bad thing, since you are doing it for the sake of someone else's well-being...
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    Apr 10, 2012 4:18 PM GMT
    Dude, only you know the specifics of what you are talking about to answer this. And your writing shows you are intelligent enough to, too.
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    Apr 10, 2012 4:23 PM GMT
    KandaharMedic saidHere is my dilemma:


    Here is my question:
    Is it wrong for me to keep the truth about what I do from my family and loved ones? Is it wrong of me to lie to them about these things?


    Is a lie. or omission of detail in this case? Isn't it more a matter of being in a position where you can confide in one or more of your loved ones without worrying them sick? Perhaps the time will come later that you will confide more?

    The real question is what does it cost you to not be able to confide? If it's harming you not to tell, then maybe you could do it in an old school way like a letter (or maybe even something you don't send)?

    It's not like you're stringing anyone along with deceit here. Far from it, your motives appear to be completely justified.
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    Apr 10, 2012 4:26 PM GMT
    LimitUp saidSometimes we do the right things for the wrong reasons. Sometimes we do the wrong things for the right reasons.
    This* but you have to ask yourself what is important to you. You orders, you can't go against those. So you shouldn't have to tell anyone anything they don't have any business knowing. That is part of your job. If you feel you job is asking you to do something you see as immoral, I'm sure there is a military code of conduct for you to tell your senior officers what you think without stepping out of line and being insubordinate. I used to be in a relationship with a military man, and military men are amongst my favorite men overall. You guys have a lot to process mentally, physically and emotionally out there as you go about your business. Don't let anything derail you from that. Be a good soldier. Seek out help with this issue within means the Army has given you were you're at. My first step; without being too descriptive or in depth find if you can talk to a fellow soldier about your thoughts. If he's open to what you're thinking, then go ahead slowly open up, but don't compromise yourself in the process.
    I'm not a soldier or veteran, but this makes sense to me. IMHO. Hope you figure this out diligently Kandahar. O'jala!/j.k =|
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    Apr 10, 2012 4:32 PM GMT
    OK. Looking at this from a strictly business employment perspective. If you were working in the private sector - there would be some aspects of most any job that would really be off limits topics of conversation. You might have to sign confidentiality agreements and so forth.

    Not giving your family the details of your job might fall into that category. If you keep your statements generic - I don't think it's lying - like "Had a good day" or "today was rough" - Then perhaps you can explain to your family that you are not able to share any more beyond that - for everyone's safety. They should understand.
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    Apr 10, 2012 4:35 PM GMT
    My opinion:

    Not all lies are created equal. I think you have to look at your motives. Motive is everything. If you're lying so you can get away with something or to make yourself look better, then it's a bad idea. But in your case, you're lying to prevent someone from getting hurt, and I don't see how anyone could possibly fault you for that. In fact, most people with big egos would be tempted to tell the truth just to get sympathy, but you're doing the opposite, which says a lot about you. That being said, if you decided to tell them the truth, I'm sure that would be okay too because obviously you would be doing it with their best interests in mind.
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    Apr 10, 2012 4:35 PM GMT
    I don't think you are wrong in trying to shelter your loved ones. Don't worry about these minor things; you have far more important matters to deal with.
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    Apr 10, 2012 4:35 PM GMT
    It's called OPSEC and your family should respect that and, no offense, apply a little common sense and realize that there are some things that you cannot discuss with them given your occupation. You don't have to explain yourself to them about what it is you do and they should know better.

    I wouldn't say you are lying so much as you are just "padding the truth" or lessening the actual seriousness and severity of your job. You are in the Army, you go on mission patrols and deploy to certain high risk areas and you probably carry a gun too. Doesn't take a genius to figure out what you might do, have done or have seen and experienced.

    Basically, your family needs to respect you and the fact that you are in military and can't talk about certain things and your friend needs to not try to guilt you into thinking that you are lying or doing any harm by not telling them your business.

    Is it wrong to give them simple answers to the questions they ask you? Maybe downplay it a bit? Nope.
    Is it wrong not to tell them what you specifically do or what your missions are composed of? Nope.

    Sometimes family is just better off not knowing what you do and, in reality, it's your job not to tell them.
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    Apr 10, 2012 4:41 PM GMT
    I used to do the same thing to my family, and during one of my deployments a friend of mine told my mom everything I had confided in him. She was really upset that I had lied to her. After that, i tried not to lie and say everything was fine, but I would avoid the subject or change the conversation if they asked. The way I see it, family members don't need to the details of what you do. As you said, it's probably not good for them.
  • LJay

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    Apr 10, 2012 5:01 PM GMT
    i would not be so concerned about what you are saying to your family as what you are saying to yourself. By not wishing to tell them what goes on, are you, in some way, denying it yourself? I realize this is hard to deal with and wish you did not have to.
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    Apr 10, 2012 5:05 PM GMT
    Without knowing exactly what you're telling them, it is hard to pass judgement, but your situation isn't new. It is not dishonest to avoid all the details. You can always tell them it is not advisable to go into all the operational details, and just tell them what you want them to know. If they ask if it is dangerous, without lying you can say there is always an element of danger, but downplay it.
  • HndsmKansan

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    Apr 10, 2012 5:10 PM GMT
    I agree with John (Socalfitness) above. I do think you need to let they know the basics of whats up, avoid details. You can express what you do in a way that communicates the hazard, without going into many details. If your family starts to ask some serious questions, be prepared to address it responsibly... I'd provide some basic outlines.

    They need to know that this isn't basic duty, you are in harms way... just don't provide the details that may worry.
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    Apr 10, 2012 5:14 PM GMT
    This reminds me of my uncle's stories about his life after WWII. He was an anti aircraft gunner under Patton, and was on a detail to liberate (Buchenwald or Mauthausen) a concentration camp.
    My grandmother wanted to know everything he had seen and always ased how he was doing. My uncle told my dad all about it but made him promise never to tell their parents. He didnt want to upset them, or worry about the effect the war had on him.
    He didn't want to lie to his family, but told them he would never talk about it. Period. They never asked him again. Of course, that was a different time. Men didn't talk about their feelings as a rule

    That might be an option.

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    Apr 10, 2012 5:17 PM GMT
    No, it's your business; unless there is a compelling reason they need to know, it is your prerogative as to how much information you share.
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    Apr 10, 2012 5:28 PM GMT
    You're in the military, bro. It comes with the territory. Certain things are just better left alone. You don't need to discuss the details of combat life. I've always had an understanding with my family that they would not press me for details, and if they were getting to curious, I would just shut em down and say that I couldn't / rather not talk about it. There's nothing wrong with it IMO.
  • chi_rock

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    Apr 10, 2012 5:32 PM GMT
    The military has a long (ancient) tradition of sparing loved ones from the details of military life and death. I think you make a wise choice in withholding potentially damaging information. When the danger is over, you may feel it is time to open up.
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    Apr 10, 2012 5:53 PM GMT
    It's a totally subjective analysis that's specific to how synergyistic you are with your family when it comes to talking openly about a broad range of issues including your honest feelings. My gut instinct is to say that if you cannot talk to your family and be totally honest with them then you then you are doing yourself, and perhaps your family, a disservice in as much as I know in my family, my siblings and mother would be horrified to know that I could not talk to them about my deepest fears and insecurities, likewise if I knew they were witholding from me. Granted, your issues far outweigh the typical day to day neurosis most people have in civy street but again, those fears are subjective and relative. All that being said, after my mother had a heart attack after losing my Dad, I have selectively told her issues that affect me so as to stop her worrying and getting stressed, my three sisters though, I tell all and parents as they are have an uncanny ability to know how you feel anyway. It's noble what you are doing bud, I only operate in and out of the airfields in these warzones and not on the front line, you guys do a great job and ultimately, from what I get speaking to the troops is that no one can truly relate to what goes on there as much as the other guys in the unit, they are the family to whom you bare all! Careful how you go and kick some ass while you're doing it!!! ;)
  • Dominican_Gen...

    Posts: 379

    Apr 10, 2012 6:11 PM GMT
    I am amazed how everyone here is doing mental gymnastics to rationalize lying to your loved ones. Ok, don't tell them your friend got killed by a bomb, but don't go around saying it is all rainbows and ponies.

    I wish it doesn't happens to you or your family, but nobody wants to send a loved one to Disneyland and then welcome him in a coffin. And the example actually happened on my family.
  • thadjock

    Posts: 2183

    Apr 10, 2012 6:36 PM GMT
    KandaharMedic saidHere is my question:
    Is it wrong for me to keep the truth about what I do from my family and loved ones? Is it wrong of me to lie to them about these things?


    u should never feel like u have to hold back with family. i grew up with a military dad and he was always 100% open and str8 up about anything me and my brothers would ask him about. he's the same way when strangers or other family ask him about his service, trust me if people don't want to hear anymore about what u do they'll stop asking.

    but u should never feel like you have to hide anything or protect anybody from the truth of what you do. civilians can handle alot more than u think, and it's not fair for you to box urself into a space that might not leave you any relief valve. as in any situation if your family truly loves you and is there for you, they'll help you carry any baggage you got, without judgement.



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    Apr 10, 2012 7:07 PM GMT
    Most will ask out of curiosity or to show they care (which they probably do). But few really want to know all finer details.

    So have you considered just giving them enough generic info to satisfy the question but end it with a "i can get into details due to confidentiality issues". I'm sure the Army doesn't condone its soldiers going around blabbing all details to the public. This way you wont be a liar and at the same time you'll be maintaining confidentiality of the Army.
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    Apr 10, 2012 7:13 PM GMT
    When your family asks what you do, just say "if I tell you, I'll have to kill you." icon_biggrin.gif
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    Apr 10, 2012 7:17 PM GMT
    I don't talk to my family about my day-to-day work, but I also did ask them how much detail they wanted to know about. Turns out they're kinda squeamish, which works in my favour. Albeit, I'm not in any mortal danger, so they're not worried about me dying at work, but it's nice to know they don't want to hear about the darker sides of medicine either. And they know I don't generally share patient stuff.

    Point being, you don't have to make the decision all on your own. You CAN let them decide how much they really want to know.
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    Apr 10, 2012 7:22 PM GMT
    KandaharMedic saidHere is my dilemma:

    I am in the Army. This is my second deployment to a combat zone. I am not a dishonest person, but when it comes to telling my family and loved ones about what I do, I am not completely honest if not outright lie to them.

    Even if it involves the missions that I go on and/or the things that happen in the missions.

    We go on patrol missions and talk to the locals and that is about it. Many times the truth is FAR different from what I tell them. I don't want my family to know what my fellow soldiers or I have to deal with and I don't want/need my family/loved ones worrying anymore then they already are. Some of the things that we have do deal with they wouldn't understand anyway nor would I want to tell them or talk to them about it. Hell, I am afraid that if they knew the truth then THEY might start having nightmares.

    Here is my question:
    Is it wrong for me to keep the truth about what I do from my family and loved ones? Is it wrong of me to lie to them about these things?


    I had two uncles who were colonels in WW II. My father was a marine during the Korean conflict. I heard some stories that I'd rather NOT have heard. There was no "need to know" basis. For instance - - - I didn't need to know how certain snipers were killed, and how their cocks were cut off and stuffed into their mouths - - to be found later by their own men. I didn't need to know how Korean or Japanese snipers did horrible things to our guys - - - in great detail.

    So, I think you're right in exercising a good bit of control and editing before you just tell your family everything you see and hear. They don't need gory details of war.