Many marriages in Oklahoma are unhappy and result in divorce. However, you might not realize that the process of understanding when a marriage is toxic – before one or both people decide to file for divorce – can be difficult and may take months or years. This is especially true when it comes to emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse is insidious and difficult to address, as Psychology Today points out. Gaslighting is a tactic that many emotional abusers use to make their victims dependent on them and fail to realize that they are being abused. If you are being gaslit by your partner, you may think that it is all in your head or that your unhappiness is all your fault. It is important to know that if you think something is wrong, it probably is, and that if you have been working toward a healthy marriage and trying to keep your spouse happy, it is not your fault.

The term “gaslighting” gets its name from a play and movie in which a husband convinces his wife she is going crazy. Instead of believing the proof in front of her, the woman gradually believes her husband’s increasingly outlandish lies and thinks she cannot trust her own judgment. The gaslighting process is slow and gradual, so you do not realize that you are being manipulated, controlled and lied to. Your partner may include positive reinforcement and claim that you are crazy and everyone else agrees with him or her that you are mentally unstable, to support his or her efforts to undermine your belief in yourself. By the end, you are likely to blame yourself for everything that goes wrong in the marriage.

Abuse victims do not deserve this kind of treatment. However, since it may be difficult to get out of an abusive marriage without help, you should understand that this information is not meant as legal advice.