Tom knew the assumptions, and would not alter them. Never before in his life had he found himself ‘interpreted’ so incorrectly.
He took full advantage and learned how to give the image he wished.
They wanted to believe what he suffered was due to Vietnam, he played along. But what he suffered was due to the fact the only person he ever loved had died over ten years ago.
What he suffered was the sudden understanding that everything in his life that mattered was gone.