JOEL MARK WITT: Hi, welcome back to Personality Hacker. I’m Joel Mark Witt.
ANTONIA DODGE: I’m Antonia Dodge.
JOEL MARK WITT: We’re continuing our short video series, talking with Merja Sumiloff, the creator of INFx Unveiled, a program specifically for INFJs and INFPs, who would like to address some of the healing work in her life because underneath the healing work lies some of the greatest purpose and passion, and some of the things that you’re going to bring the world that are very special. In the last video, we talked about the specifics of healing, the specific type of healing that maybe INFJs will need to do and the specific type of healing that INFPs will need to do. I asked Merja at the end of the last video if she’d share her personal story with us in this video. This video, I’d like for you, Merja, to give us a sense of where you’ve come through. How did you get to the point where you went from doing inner healing work on yourself to where you help guide and teach other people, in particular the INFs, to do their own inner healing work? What’s your story?
MERJA: How long do I got? I’ll give you a little bit of a background information from the childhood. It will probably pave it pretty nicely. My father was a narcissistic alcoholic and my mother divorced him when I was 3 which there’s a lot of talk these days about the children of divorce and how damaged they are so on and so forth, but I have to say it was one of the best things that could have happened to us as children because life was very destructive. Just having a narcissist parent who … Basically all you ever hear as a child is that you are the reason why they are in so much pain. It’s not a healthy place for a child to grow up, believing those things that all they do is cause other people their discomfort.
Also, obviously, very difficult situation, very difficult situation for my mother who had to support us. She was working full time. Myself and my sister, she was supporting us. My sister is 2 years old, so 2 kids under 5 when she divorces my father and just takes it from there and has to really focus on making the money, making sure that we have the basics but wasn’t really emotionally available for us because for obvious reasons, things needed to be done. I think she did a great job. I feel so blessed to have her as a role mother and I love her so dearly, but it wasn’t always that easy connecting with her. Going into school, being different, feeling like you’re in that space that nobody understands where you’re coming from and not having the ability to speak up about where you’re coming from because you’re so used to knowing that where you are and how you feel doesn’t matter. I went to school and I was bullied. I was told that, “You’re too different. You’re a weirdo.” You’re this, you’re that.
The only way that I could really relate to people in school was through high achieving, so I became a bit of a perfectionist. I got good grades in school, teachers like me, so I get along with teachers. I got along with the other high achievers in the class. That was my way of surviving in society if you like the society of school. Then I went on to do third level education. I have an Agricultural Degree, so I have a Science Degree which was very much based on that whole … Being an INFJ, it was very much based on that whole tertiary function, the accuracy, the perfectionist type, just performing at a certain level, so you’re acceptable as a person because you have acceptable results in school. I did a Science Degree and then I moved abroad. I moved away from my native of Finland when I was 20 and I went to work with horses. I moved to Ireland where I lived for 15 years before moving to Australia.
When I was living in Ireland, I just felt like the Science side of things, the 10-year old position just wasn’t enough. I needed something softer. I needed something a little bit more not so performance-based because I kept pushing myself to a point of when I was 21, I was in-charged of a big stud farm in Ireland. I was working with horses. I had 62 horses under my care and I had myself, and 2 other members of staff who were under me, so I was managing the yard. I was taking on and off a lot of responsibility ever since I was very young. When I was in that space of being 20, I just felt like this is just too much and I had a bit of a breakthrough or breakdown, whatever you want to call it, at that age and I needed to take a little bit of a space from working so, so hard.
We had 16 broodmares which were all in fall and they all fall between January and June, so I had to monitor them, get up every 2 hours between January and June. I had 2 nights of proper sleep in between those times, the whole … Just committing so deeply to what you’re doing and performing at an acceptable level, and being the champion of whatever, whoever is not well, and being there for them. It was just wearing me out. In the early 20s, then I went into office work and I also returned back to my roots. My great-grandmother was one of the first trained massage therapist in Finland, so I had actually been doing healing work on a physiological level, body work massage ever since I was a child. I went and I got my actual qualifications in body work and international qualification. That’s when I started to move into more of the healing side of things, so that was a pivotal point for me in life.
JOEL MARK WITT: Sure. Now, you were talking about pushing yourself. I talked a lot of INJs that have this notion that they have to be acceptable and other types, too, but this idea of pushing yourself to be acceptable and it may not be true for you, it may not be authentic for you. You’re doing this because you feel like this is how I’ll show up and people accept who I am. I can just do everything right, just do everything just so I’ll be okay in the world. It was almost a perfectionistic experience for you early on and when you’re managing the horses and things, it was very much of I can’t drop the ball. I got to make sure I’m on for this. I got to make sure I’m pushing myself for this. Is that accurate?
MERJA: Absolutely, yeah, that’s exactly what happens. Then because you’re so conditioned to try and perform at an acceptable level, when it goes overboard, you begin to anticipate what people might need and then start feeling those needs because before they’re even on the table, so you become addicted to meeting people’s needs without them actually even necessarily needing them, without tapping into that extroverted space of [inaudible 00:07:33] in the reality. It just go so far. It’s a form of obsessive compulsive disorder.
JOEL MARK WITT: Sure. Now, when we talk about the idea of you grew up at a family where you have some rough experiences, you mentioned about your father and your mother in here were divorced when you’re 5.
JOEL MARK WITT: Or 3, excuse me, that’s a challenging time for you. We talked the last video about some of the inner wounding, could you speak to some of the wounds that you took from that experience, and then I’m guessing the perfectionism was a way to calm or not have to see some of that, that inner work that you felt you needed to do. Unpack that for me. I want to hear your story around the wounding and the experience specifically in the midst of working with horses and then getting in to body work and healing work. What was that transition for you like?
MERJA: Just to give you an example of the wounding as a child, what happened when your father tells you from 0 to 3 that you are the reason why they are so unhappy.
JOEL MARK WITT: Man.
MERJA: Yeah, what happens to you is that you start to people please as much as you can so that the other person can be happier but, of course, you can’t win that because you can’t win that game because you don’t ever actually know what’s going to be the thing that’s going to make them happy.
JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah.
MERJA: I started to become really pleasing towards people to a point that when I was 5, there’s a person in our lives who was, a person of authority in our lives and looking after us as kids, I was sexually molested, taken advantage of when I was 5 because I thought this is what I should do so that I’ll be accepted. A child just takes whatever reflections from their parents and runs with it and tries to make the most of it. For example, that experience, I didn’t remember that experience until I was 16 that it was so blocked behind there and it was just another form of performance that you didn’t even think that there was anything wrong with it until you got to a point where you realize it’s not right and you just go, “You know what, yeah, this is not right.” It’s very interesting because I was 16 and my sister my 18, and she is an INFJ as well.
I called her. I was doing the third level education, so it was like a boarding school type of setup. I was away from home and I called my sister. All I said to her was, “I just remembered.” All she said to me was, “I just remembered, too. Are you okay?”
JOEL MARK WITT: Wow.
ANTONIA DODGE: We’re talking not mild traumas. We’re talking about being raised with a parent with a personality disorder. We’re talking about dealing with extraordinary betrayal and exploitation. These are our major traumas and when somebody is digging through all of this, and healing from these kinds of traumas, as somebody who’s gone through this and the whole way out is through like really gone through it, and got to the other side and discovered that your path led you to a place where you now help others heal from these styles of trauma. What are some of the most profound strategies or not even strategies but like just ways to deal with these huge traumas that I feel like some people don’t think can ever be healed in a lifetime. What have you discovered and what does INFx Unveiled help vie, that help people get though this style, that like this level of healing?
MERJA: The most important thing is that you need to choose as an individual that you are worthy of having another reality than what you grew up with. When you arrive to that point where you think in your life that this can’t be all the theories, that’s when you need to go like I may not know what’s going to be the better way, but I know that these isn’t right, and I’m going to choose something else, and I’m even necessarily going to know what I’m going to choose but I’m choosing not this thing. Making a personal choice is extremely important.
JOEL MARK WITT: Did you have that experience in your life? You had a very pinpoint experience when you said, “Hey, I’m making a different choice here.”
MERJA: I had several and a lot of INFJs can really relate to this. It’s like you can have transformations on a daily basis that changes your whole life experience and perspective within 10 minutes. That’s why you need to go so introverted because you need to [inaudible 00:12:40] everything to now fit this new way of this new truth that you know about yourself, but really what you need to do once you … Sorry, yes, you do. I had several of those moments where I had realizations that this isn’t normal and I deserve to be happy. I deserve to have a life that’s actually mine and not somebody else’s. Those were the pivotal moments when I kept re-choosing I don’t know what but not this. It was very much I’m choosing to do something else than what was my experience. That is the reason why I do the work that I do is that I don’t want a child growing up having to have a string of dysfunctional relationships, one-sided relationships just because I was taught as a child that I am the reason why my important opposite sex person in my life is unhappy.
ANTONIA DODGE: Now, in the program since these videos are fundamentally to help people determine whether or not this program would be right for them, an individual on INFJ or an INFP wouldn’t necessarily had to experience something as traumatic as you’re describing necessarily. There are smaller is maybe a misnumber but there are other styles of traumas, maybe ones that don’t hit so deep, maybe once that aren’t so buried but are just as stifling to the individual. If somebody was trying to determine whether or not this is the right healing program for them, what is the gambit of styles of traumas a person might come in with and know that they can actually heal from them?
MERJA: You can feel that …
JOEL MARK WITT: Sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt. Are you saying because the style of trauma that you experience, Merja, or Merja experienced, hearing it, somebody may not have such a severe experience. Will this still be beneficial to them, is that you’re asking?
ANTONIA DODGE: Exactly. Yeah, right, that’s exactly right.
MERJA: Sure. The thing about it is that when you go on macro level, we all have the same wounds all of us humans collectively. It’s just different degrees, the degree of changes of the wound. We all have the same wounds, so that’s fine. What I teach in this course people to do is to live their life authentically to themselves so learn to hear what is actually true to them, honor that, voice that, get used to that thing to norm and then living authentically and in a very sovereign way with that knowledge and sharing that with the people that are in their lives so the other people can honestly and fully, and authentically appreciate, and embrace who you are as a person, so you don’t have to hide away and be a chameleon to be embraced. You’ll be embraced because you are authentically yourself.
ANTONIA DODGE: When you’re calibrating to try to determine whether or not this program would be right for you, it’s not even so much what’s this specific traumas you went through, it’s how are you showing up now. Are you showing up in a way that you want to be showing up now? If the answer is no, you probably got something you need to address.
MERJA: That’s exactly right and a lot of INF types have very specific challenges with having their voice heard or feeling that they don’t have their own sovereignty and their own freedom, and if you feel that if you can relate to anyone of those things then this program is for you, but also if you feel that inside, deep inside of you that you know, you have this knowing that there’s so much more to life than this reality then this is the program for you.
JOEL MARK WITT: Just finishing up your personal story, fast-forward to today, I’m guessing, first of all that choosing to trust for your inner wisdom is a daily choice. Every morning you make that choice and because you’ve disciplined yourself, you’ve done the hard work of saying is this truly authentic to me and you’ve done some healing work, you’ve dug into things like inner child work, inner parent work. Looking at those wounds, you have uncovered for yourself, Merja, your life’s purpose and mission which is to empower other … Looking to empower other people, helping them understand they’ve got greatness inside of them, I guess, that process for you is exciting. Do you feel like you’re on purpose in mission right now in your life in what you’re doing? I’m guessing the answer is yes.
MERJA: Absolutely and it’s so funny because … Sorry, it’s that whole thing. My company name is The Merja Sumiloff Project and it’s a collection. It’s an umbrella organization for all these different ways that I’ve learned so far in my life to empower people whether it’s through business, whether it’s through high performance relationships, gender work, specific personality profiling work, inner child work, healing from the narcissistic wound, parent wound work. It can take any form but the umbrella it holds everything. The concept is the same for all the work that I do, that I put my name on which is, you know what, you’re awesome and I can’t wait to see that. I can’t wait to see the actualization. You are so free that you could choose your position upon which to whatever degree you want in your life.
JOEL MARK WITT: If underneath the healing process is such a powerful life purpose place, in other words, you have the accessibility whether you choose to act on that life purpose or not is one thing, but you get to more of the accessibility of what your life’s purpose is. That’s exciting. In other words, there’s life at the end of the tunnel. If you go through this work, there’s a benefit at the end of it where you show up not only just sovereign and authentic for your own life. You show up as a present person and you feel good about how you’re showing to the world but now you’re able to access some of the deeper things, the deeper truths that maybe you’re ready to bring to the world to give your gift to the rest of the world. I’d like to talk on another video, our next video, a little bit about some of the resistances.
I mean, if there’s so much great stuff at the end of this tunnel, why would an INFJ or an INFP not want to do this? What are some of the resistances that you’ve seen come up, the patterns you’ve seen come up? I’d like to talk more about that and we can address some of those specifically on the next video if you’re willing, so thank you for this and let’s talk on the next video. I’m Joel Mark Witt.
ANTONIA DODGE: I’m Antonia Dodge.
JOEL MARK WITT: We’ll see you on the next video with Merja Sumiloff.