Veterans are faced with a myriad of unique challenges as they are discharged from duty and return to their families. From addiction to drugs or alcohol to trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), guilt, anger, and much more, finding treatment programs in Hawaii for veterans to overcome these challenges is paramount. However, veterans can also experience increased risks of engaging in domestic violence, otherwise known as intimate partner violence (IPV). Professional treatment is often necessary to address how families can heal from these challenges and find their best path to a healthy future.
How Veteran Experiences Can Inform Violence
While one in three women and one in four men, on average, may experience some form of domestic violence at some point throughout their lives, veteran households can be at an increased risk of engaging in this kind of intimate violence.
Personality Changes in Veteran Loved Ones
Families of veterans transitioning to civilian life may be faced with profound changes in their partners. It is common for veterans to experience changes in their personalities, perspectives, worldviews, and even regular moods following their time in service. The prevalence of trauma and PTSD can further inform these personality changes.
Living through life-threatening experiences and associated survivor’s guilt, physical and emotional scarring, military sexual trauma (MST), and more all profoundly affect veterans. Likewise, these experiences can bring intense feelings of depression, anxiety, panic, guilt, and more that can manifest as anger, which further complicates their transition to civilian life.
Veteran Substance Abuse
Addiction can also compromise veterans’ ability to regulate their emotions or think rationally, further informing their engagement in domestic violence. Prevalent military drinking cultures, exposure to prescription opioids from injuries incurred in the line of duty, or using drugs or alcohol in an attempt to process personal traumas all create their own volatile emotional state, affecting veterans as well as their families.
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Veteran Experiences Can Challenge Relationships
It is important to understand that veterans do not leave their military experiences behind when transitioning to civilian life. The experiences and training that military personnel receive can change how they approach close relationships.
Using violence or aggression to overcome obstacles or manage personal relationships can become increasingly common among veterans. Unfortunately, spouses and romantic partners of veterans may experience this tendency towards violence or confrontational behavior first-hand.
Despite these challenges that veterans face, engaging in domestic violence of any kind needs to be professionally addressed. Families may have to consider professional intervention for the safety and well-being of their loved ones and family as a whole.
Forms of Domestic Violence
Violence in these relationships takes many forms, each uniquely devastating to the physical, mental, and emotional health of those most directly affected by these behaviors. Identifying the various forms that these behaviors can take is the first step in pursuing the necessary professional treatment and taking action to establish a safe and healthy home environment.
For many, the first images of domestic violence that come to mind may be physical altercations or aggression from one partner to another. However, there are also many other forms that domestic violence can take, including:
- Unwanted physical contact, shoving, striking, or physically moving another
- Use of threats or put-downs
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Cutting a person off from other friends or family
- Controlling communication, such as checking phones, call histories, or deleting contacts
- Suspicions or accusations of cheating or other behaviors, especially without evidence
- Use of intimidation or fear
Any of these things can affect the atmosphere of an entire household. Feelings of aggression, anger, frustration, distrust and more can all be common. Veterans navigating their own stresses and challenges may experience these complex emotions as anger and frustration as well, creating a complex and dangerous environment to navigate without professional help.
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Addressing Domestic Violence in Veteran Homes
Spouses and partners of veterans will experience their own profound changes when loved ones return from active duty. Recognizing any of these signs or feeling in any way threatened by changes in their partner is cause for immediate action. Often, finding new living situations may be necessary in the meantime.
Utilizing Veteran-Specific Treatment
Addressing the prevalence and effects of domestic violence is complicated. Dedicated programs and veteran-specific treatment programs in Hawaii are necessary to address not only the outburst of such violent behaviors but also the underlying factors informing such a mindset.
Professional treatment and trauma-informed therapy can help veterans identify and address feelings of anger, shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, and more. This is done in a healthy way while developing personal and spiritual outlets for processing these complex feelings.
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Dedicated treatment to cease the use of addictive substances that further compromise veterans’ emotional state and decision-making are also paramount to understanding the effects of such behaviors and making effective changes. Family programs and support can also create an atmosphere for families to address the direct effects of domestic violence on the household.
Working with professionals to navigate these experiences, develop communication strategies if desired, and create a plan for rebuilding these relationships is necessary to address domestic violence in veteran households and the lasting physical and emotional damage it can cause in an otherwise safe environment. Seeking individual treatment for addressing the traumas of domestic violence in veteran households can further help the spouses and families of veterans heal from such violence.
Domestic violence in veteran households is devastatingly prevalent and involves professional treatment to address these tendencies and stresses for families to feel safe around their veteran loved ones. We at Hawaii Island Recovery are committed to empowering each person to pursue their best healing in a safe environment, whether in helping veterans understand the impact of such behaviors and make an effort to amend these notions by addressing underlying stresses or supporting families in navigating trauma in their lives. Our unique rehab in Hawaii offers an array of personalized programs, from individual and group therapy to nature and ocean-based experiential therapies. To learn more, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.