VHA Social Work
Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) - VETERANS & PARTNERS - What Can I Do?
If you feel you may be using, or are at risk of using, any form of intimate partner violence in your relationships, such as using insults or threats against your partner, throwing things, using intimidating behavior or resorting to physical violence, let someone know. The VA has many programs who understand that relationships are difficult and that trauma and military experience can make those relationships even harder sometimes. We are here to help you build strong, healthy, safe relationships.
Here are some Quick Tips for diffusing conflict:Recognize the signs that your anger may be escalating:
- Physical: adrenaline rush, muscle tension, headaches, feeling hot, sweating, stomachache, shaking, holding your breath
- Emotions: anger, fear, rejection, hopelessness
- Thoughts: “She doesn’t respect me.” “He doesn’t care about me.”
- During the time out, both parties should:
- Take time to better understand why you’re feeling upset and pick an activity that is safe and helps you to relax, like walking or listening to music.
- Think about what you want to say to your partner – not how you’ll win the argument – but how you’ll communicate what you’re feeling while also listening and acknowledging your partner’s concerns.
- Get help if you are concerned about other issues such as alcohol or drug use, mental health problems or other concerns. Left untreated, these concerns can make addressing your own needs and relationship issues more difficult.
- Take part in supportive programs:
- Strength at Home and other trauma-informed programs help group participants understand how their military experience and trauma have affected their relationships. These program help participants heal from their own trauma and to learn effective skills for building safe, healthy relationships.
- Warrior to Soul Mate workshops offer couples the opportunity to learn to communicate more effectively and build trust and emotional closeness.
- Couples Counseling is offered at most VA’s and Veterans Readjustment Counseling Centers.
- Don’t do it alone! Consider sharing what you are experiencing with someone who will listen and support you in your goal of ending violence in your relationship.
- Reach out to a family member, friend, pastor, mentor, or sponsor.