Letting Go Into Perfect Love: Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse
by Gwendolyn M. Plano
“When we first fall in love with our partner, we also fall in love with a vision of happiness. That vision is the lens through which we judge ourselves. It is integrally linked to our sense of self. To expose our partner is to expose our perceived failure. For that reason, victims will pretend that all is well until they cannot pretend any longer.”
Gwen grew up as the oldest of nine children, traveling with her family around the American Midwest and briefly taking root wherever her father could find work. At college, she met her first husband, Bruce, though a workplace incident left Bruce’s mind shattered and broken soon after the birth of their son, Matt. After her divorce from Bruce, Gwen was introduced to Ron, a handsome, well-travelled man who was similarly grieving the loss of his recent girlfriend. Drawn together by pain, Gwen and Ron began dating and married after only six months together, despite vocal reservations from both their families – and that’s when Ron changed. He became abusive, violent, unfeeling. He threatened Gwen and hit their son. When the family moved together to Japan, the domestic violence took a brief reprieve, but Ron was soon back to his old ways. And, as their family grew, the violence only grew with it. Eventually (after twenty-five years of marriage), Gwen had had enough. She drew strength over the years from close relationships with her children and various religious communities, and was no longer paralyzed by fear of what Ron might do when she told him she wanted to end their marriage. Though Gwen didn’t fully expect to find love and happiness again (she had plenty of both from family already), she remarried a third time, and is in a deeply loving marriage today.
Letting Go Into Perfect Love is one woman’s emotive account of domestic violence, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s the story of a young mother learning to respect and value herself, a student of religion finding the simple beauty in life around her, a writer searching for the proper words with which to tell her tale. Though it is seldom talked about, domestic violence is a serious issue facing women and families all around the world. While the writing here is beautiful, Letting Go also serves to start that vital conversation: now that we can no longer choose to ignore abuse, what do we do about it? Hopefully, it will prompt readers to reflection, and then to action. Gwen’s story has a happy ending, but many other women’s do not. This isn’t the first time our reviewers have read an account of domestic violence, and, frankly, it breaks our hearts. Gwen needed to tell her story – and you need to read it.
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