In the past, I’ve sometimes used the word “revisionist” to describe people who vainly try to rewrite personal history. I can understand the need to do it, as many people have some fairly terrible stories in their past. The way I’m using the word, though, isn’t in regards to someone concealing specific secrets; rather, it encompasses attempts to minimize, gloss over or call into question another person’s detailed memory of an event. For those people like me that don’t fee ashamed about family history beyond our control, it is a constant pull to avoid getting sucked in by those who fight against even the most basic truths.
A revisionist to me is someone who can’t help but to rewrite history to change the perception of what happened. Dad beat your mom constantly? “No, it was only every once and a while, and nothing like what you say.” Did someone do a lot of drugs? “Well, it was that boyfriend’s fault, not really hers. It was all a big misunderstanding.”
I think using the word “revisionist” as a short code for “not quite telling the truth” could be very useful.