Excerpt from the chapter, “Your Legacy” From Pain to Power: Overcoming Sexual Trauma & Reclaiming Your True Identity (pages 155-157)
Dear Princess Warriors,
Your legacy is like a one-hundred-dollar bill. It doesn’t matter if it has been wrinkled, and folded or even torn. It’s always worth the same. Your value is inherent, endowed by God. Your legacy is what you choose to do with your value.
Princess Warriors, you are built to lead through connection and investment. Make no mistake that abusers and the evil one hurt you in these very areas so that you would decide not to use these gifts. Reject these lies. Because you are the first and last of your kind, no one in all of history will be able to connect and invest like you.
Daniel Amen, M.D., a widely known psychiatrist, wrote the book, Unleashing the Power of the Female Brain. In it, he discusses the unique capacity women have to be extraordinary leaders. He notes that in general, women are designed neurobiologically to provide the following qualities of leadership:
- Women have more empathy than men do.
- Women have more worry than men do and are concerned with the welfare of others.
- Women have more self-control than men do.
- Women are more collaborative and are able to bond or show more connection with more agility than men are.
- Women have greater powers of intuition or gut feeling than men do and are usually correct in their assumptions. (Summarized from Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., Unleashing the Power of the Female Brain (New York: Harmony, 2013), 41.
We are forces and leaders, which helps explain why the Evil One wants to destroy us. Your legacy starts with standing up for yourself—and this is work filled with dust, sweat and blood. Standing up for yourself is a mighty and often messy act that is necessary if you are to depart from the people who brought darkness and confusion into your life.
I work with too many women who are afraid to let other people down, so they work around the pain of their abuse. They continue to interact with their abusers. They attend family functions where the perpetrator sits at the same Thanksgiving table. They continue to work in an environment where they are sexually harassed. They remain married to their rapist. (Husbands force sex on their wives far more than any of us would like to think.)
Until you stand that you will not tolerate the stealth attack on your soul, you will not be able to empathize with yourself or offer empathy to others. Consequently, your legacy-filled will lack effectiveness. Your power will be limited, and God’s kingdom will not grow in the way only you could have grown it. If you lack self-respect and continue to entertain the status quo, you will not heal. Yet when you bring fear and shame-based behaviors to an end, your legacy will gain traction.
Mary Ellen Mann is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Denver (visit www.manncounselinggroup.com). After attending a Christian college, she did her graduate work at Columbia University. Recently she co-founded Last Battle, LLC and helped develop the first interactive website for survivors of sexual violation, www.lastbattle.org, to help survivors, family and friends of survivors, Christian leaders, and professionals who care about this population. Her book, From Pain to Power will be on the market September 22, 2015. Mary Ellen lives in Denver with her husband and their two sons.