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ANTONIA DODGE: Hi. It’s Antonia Dodge and Joel Mark Witt with Personality Hacker with Merja Sumiloff talking about her new program, The Healing Power of Inner Parenting: The Four People Within. First of all, I just want to thank you Merja for creating this program because the program that you created last year that we released called The INFx Unveiled was super powerful but only for two personality types. We got a lot of requests that you introduce some of the healing concepts and the tools that were in that program to people of all types, which is what you have done. What we want to do in this short series of videos is introduce some of the concepts that are in this program, The Four People Within, and how powerful it can be for people of all personality types. One of the things that I loved about the first session, which actually has probably four or five different models in it, very powerful stuff, but one of the things that struck was this concept of boundary setting and healthy boundaries, unhealthy boundaries, which are barricades. We were hoping that you’d be able to share a little bit of that content, a little bit about what’s in that program and powerful it can be for people.

MERJA SUMILOFF: Sure. Absolutely. Just a quick differentiation between boundaries and barricades, if I may?


MERJA SUMILOFF: Boundaries are like a gate. The boundaries can be very semipermeable. They can be flexible and so on. If you look at boundaries when they’re really healthy, they actually help you build intimacy within relationships, within different situations in life and that type of thing. Whereas barricades on the other hand, they are like a shield. They’re really rigid. They’re like, imagine this compound with a big wall and barbed wires around everywhere. With the barricades, there’s inflexibility, you’re seeing yourself as a victim, you don’t feel like you have a choice other than to have the barricades up, and you don’t usually come from a very empowered place. How that then relates to having four different types of challenges with boundaries, and if we think we’ve got unhealthy boundaries in particular, we have people who are compliant, people who are avoidant, people who are controlling, and people who are non-responsive. Now, this might be you yourself or maybe somebody that you know in your life that’s behaving in a way that has these unhealthy boundaries or barricades, as I call them. Is it okay to go straight into a little bit of detail about those four different types?


ANTONIA DODGE: That would be perfect.

MERJA SUMILOFF: Okay. The compliants are like the yes men and yes women of the world. The compliants are all about yes, yes, yes, I’ll do this for you, I’ll do that for you. What can I do for you? All this. Let me just make sure that I am doing things for you so that you can not be angry, or not be in pain, or not blame, or not shame me, or one of those things. Compliants are very much about controlling how people respond to them by being overly facilitating for other people. That’s what I used to do myself. I used to be very compliant. It was all about really bad boundaries, really like, “Oh yeah, I’ll do that. I’ll do that.” In the meantime, I’d be getting extremely exhausted, and under pressure, and just not looking after myself at all. Of course, that’s super exhausting for those of you who can relate to that. The next part is the avoidants. The avoidants are like the compliants in reverse. The avoidants are the people who don’t want to say yes to anything or don’t want to say no to anything. They just want to move into the distance somewhere where they can’t be grabbed and asked to do something. What’s interesting about the avoidants as well is that they tend to offer themselves, or offer help, or put their hand up for situations that are completely unnecessary or even inappropriate for them. They might put their hand up when they’re not actually qualified to do something or it physiologically can’t happen. It’s their way of controlling the situation of looking like you’re compliant to things and looking like you’re wanting to do things but actually controlling how it’s going to be done and that it’s not going to be done. You’re making sure that, “Oh yeah, I won’t be asked to do this if I put my hand up for this.” Does that make sense?

ANTONIA DODGE: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


MERJA SUMILOFF: Yeah. The two things are very different there. They’re like the same type but in reverse. They’re very, very, one could say, manipulative. I don’t want to manipulative as a negative. Manipulation can be good like if you go to a body work or you go and have a massage, you’re going to be manipulated. Your body’s going to be manipulated. It’s going to help you. In this unhealthy barricade, so to speak, it is negative manipulation, unfortunately. Then, of course, we have the controllers who are all about not hearing the word no. It’s not so much that they don’t say it, they just don’t want to hear it. There’s two types of controllers. There’s the aggressive ones and then there’s the manipulative ones. They basically get their way with everything, they just go about it a different way. The aggressive controllers are all about just pushing themselves through boundaries that people set. They’re aware that the boundaries are there, but they don’t care. They’re just going to go for it. Then the manipulative controllers just make sure that they seduce you to change your mind about your boundaries. They’re very different in a way that the end result is the same, but how they approach it is very different. You have different ways of … They know that you have boundaries but they go, “Ah, well I’m going to get through this this way or that way. I’m going to get my way.” Then, of course, there’s the nonresponsive people who are all about really not even realizing that people have boundaries. It’s more about type of people like narcissists or the hypercritical types who have some kind of a story going on in their heads about what’s happening. They don’t actually even realize that the person is having boundaries or that is trying to attempting to set boundaries with you. These are the people who usually very much don’t see people as individual people with feelings, and hopes, and dreams, and fears, and things. They usually see people as pawns in their own game. Does that make sense? Is that a good enough … an across section of those four different types?


ANTONIA DODGE: Definitely. I think what I love about the program is that this is not a way to diagnose the people in your life so that you can heal from all these horrible people with all these terrible boundary barricade problems.


ANTONIA DODGE: This is a healing program that’s about asking yourself, “Which one of these am I?” We all have a tendency. None of us has nailed healthy boundaries yet, not perfectly. In a healing program, the questions can be, “Who am I surrounded by to determine what the context is?,”-


ANTONIA DODGE: … and maybe some things that you have to change in the outside world. A healing program is primarily self diagnosis and working through your stuff.


ANTONIA DODGE: What I love about when you go through the concept of healthy boundaries versus barricades and all these different styles of building unhealthy boundaries, the real question is, “Which one am I manifesting? What do I have to work through?”



MERJA SUMILOFF: Absolutely. It’s funny because we all have these different types of barricades that we put up. We all use all four in different ways, but what happens is that we’re usually not aware of that especially if we feel like we are at the receiving end, like the victim. We feel like other people are doing these things to us. We are somehow contributing to this situation. If you have the, I guess, the courage to ask yourself, “How am I contributing to this situation? Where am I behaving like this particular person with these boundary issues, or that one, or this one, whatever,” then if have the courage to do that, then we can bring ourselves to the next level and we will have the power then to encourage or even inspire other people around us to do the same. It’s almost like other people around us feel like they have a permission to do their own when we do our own work. It has to start from us regardless of anybody else. We need to do our own work.


ANTONIA DODGE: Absolutely.

JOEL MARK WITT: I want to highlight what you said at the very beginning is, oftentimes we look at boundaries as defensive, which it might be when you’re first starting to switch from unhealthy to healthier boundaries in your life.


JOEL MARK WITT: It might have to be a protective frame at first. You might have to come and say, “Hey, you can’t treat me this way,” or, “I’m going to show I’m different and not walk all over you,” or whatever the situation for you is. It might be defensive for you at first, and ultimately what you’re trying to lead to, you touched on this at the very beginning, is it’s actually creating a framework. The clear boundary allows people to come in and it creates a platform or a staging ground for true intimacy with someone. The end goal is not just to be protective. I think that’s really what these barriers are. It’s just a protection mechanism.


JOEL MARK WITT: True authentic boundaries allow people to come in when there’s trust built and there’s parameters and protection so that you can create an intimate relationship and go to the depths of intimacy. I think that’s exciting, because it’s not about what we’re trying to avoid, it’s what we’re trying to go toward, which is that healthy relationship with other people. I think that is key, as far as I’m concerned.

MERJA SUMILOFF: Definitely. If you want to build your life, if you want to do your personal development, if you want to build yourself to the best version of who you are, healthy boundaries are an infrastructure that is required to be in place in order for you to go higher and higher in your own personal development.


MERJA SUMILOFF: If you don’t have healthy boundaries, you’re missing infrastructure like roads or hospitals in a society.

JOEL MARK WITT: Exactly. In this course then, in this program, you go through and identify these. Then you have steps that you give out in the course, in the program, basically how to construct healthy boundaries. You work through and there’s exercises. Someone listening, someone engaging with the content can go, “Okay, I have an action plan and literal practical steps they can work through to then create the boundaries to work toward intimacy, to work toward the co-creative, the positive aspects of this.” I just wanted to throw that out there that that’s part of the program is creating these healthier expressions of that, I guess. I want to talk to you, I think, in the next video. I want to talk to you about triggers, getting triggered, because I know a lot of people when they’re doing personal growth work, inner healing work, inner parent work, things that we start to work on, things trigger for us, or you get triggered, whatever gets triggered.


JOEL MARK WITT: Let’s talk about that in the next video. In the meantime, check out Merja’s new program The Power of Inner Parenting: The Four People Within. It’s a great program. We’ll see you in the next video.

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