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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk with Merja Sumiloff (creator of INFx Unveiled) about healing the inner child to unleash our true purpose in life.



In this podcast you’ll find:

Merja Sumiloff 

INFX Unveiled

HAT Model

Take control of your life and don’t just take what you were given.

All children are going to be wounded by their parents in some way.

This doesn’t mean we all have a pass to be trapped by our programming. When we find a part of our life that is truly dissatisfying, address it, handle it, and move past it.

Don’t just tell your story over and over and stay within that narrative. Do the work to get to the other side.

The wounding part of our past is effectively a massive part of our inner child’s world.

Car model

There are different people living in us:

Driver – Adult Self 

Copilot – Inner Parent

10 year old and 3 year old – Inner child 

Our inner child is the most wounded part of who we are. The part of us that was so wounded in childhood that the 10 year old/3 year old cognitive functions reflect that wounded inner child.

The 10 year old and 3 year old also hold the key to our creative potential and what we are here to accomplish. Our life’s purpose lies underneath the deepest wounds.

If we Parent the inner child we can transform the wounds into our true potential.

Most people resist healing due to fear of the unknown – “What will happen if I go completely off the rails?” That is often what stops us – “Better the Devil you know…. ”

There is a ton of healing in the space of vulnerability. Most of us are not used to being in those spaces of vulnerability because we have never learned how to be there and we don’t have people who hold space for us.

Society is very good at saying what is appropriate and what is not. We are conditioned not to go certain places even in the privacy of our own minds.

We can transmogrify our fears into a monster within us. If we can change the monster into a child we can lose the fear and have greater compassion for those wounded parts.

Find a picture of yourself as a child and carry it with you. Refer to the wounded parts as that inner child. When you are triggered and you realize you are in that inner child space, build a bridge between you and that inner child.

What kind of parenting did you have?

INFJs tend to grow up very fast and they don’t really have memory of a childhood. As adults we can regain that childhood and make it as wonderful as we’d like!

Inner dialogue determines parenting style. INFJ’s inner child often shows up in that tertiary role of Introverted Thinking which translates to a tendency toward perfectionism. 

Most of the work is inner dialogue. It is based upon the parenting style you choose to show toward your inner child:

Authoritative – Loving boundaries

Authoritarian – Nothing but boundaries

Permissive – No Boundaries

Absent – Nothing

The parenting work you do outside of yourself can include any person or influence that had authority over you as a child – entity, culture, religion, environment, etc.

NF types like to make sure everyone is comfortable and they are performing at an acceptable level.

Don’t beat yourself up. And don’t beat yourself up for beating yourself up. Take a pen and write a letter of apology to your inner child.

Recreate a more enjoyable childhood for yourself. Take your inner child on outings every week.

Our Inner child holds the key to our whole life’s purpose. Our inner child needs us and we need our inner child. To be an absent parent to our inner child and continue to ignore its needs only takes us further away from our inner sovereignty and the life we are supposed to be living. Include your inner child in your everyday life.

This doesn’t mean you can be a completely permissive parent and let your inner child run your life. Find a place where your inner child is part of your creative process. Part of who you are.

We have the ability to regain some of the things we missed during our childhood. It isn’t about wild abandon, but creating a sovereign experience over our actions and reactions.

When we do this work and amalgamate all the divergent parts of ourselves, we also amalgamate all those different functions together so we can become who we really are: A parent, an innovator, a creator, whatever.

When you encounter someone who you perceive as obnoxious or undeveloped, imagine what they were as a 5 year old. Before life or the world made them who they are today.

When you do this work and show love, support, and a conscious parenting style for yourself, you realize how much more grace you can give to others who may have experienced similar things in their childhood.

When somebody is triggered it is not the whole story. It is just part of the story. And the individual needs to be honored.

INFX Unveiled – INFs feel like they are without an anchor. At the receiving end of circumstance. Without direction. This course is specifically designed to help INF types get that sense of who they are and what is right for them. It offers INF types a clear sense that they are in fact in charge of their own experience. INF types tend to be overlooked in this world because their perspective is not widely considered to be mainstream. INFPs have an amazing ability to take a form and tweak it until it has another form that can help the collective and the individual. The world needs what we have to give. We need to be innovative. What would the world look like if INFs stepped into their power and shared the richness of their inner world.

Whoever you are. Wherever you are. Your life matters. You are an important part of this space we are in. To hide that person away and speak to yourself harshly is doing a disservice to yourself and to the whole planet. We need you. We need you to step into who you really are.



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Showing 9 comments
  • Mark Caudill

    Nice talk, this is one I will need to come back and listen to again. I find that a lot of people have trouble understanding me when they first talk to me because I am so different in the way I think from the average person. This can make it very hard to connect with people, getting people to take the time to have enough conversations to connect in our world of busyness makes it even more difficult. Getting in touch with the real person you are meant to be and your inter child is something I try to tell people is part of their own personal development. Anyway I like this podcast and thanks for what you do.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Mark! And thank you for doing your part in helping people become more aware of their own responsibility in regards to personal development. 🙂

    • merja

      Thank you for your feedback, Mark! 🙂

  • Luke

    This is so beautiful and the most soul wrenching message I’ve heard in so long. Thanks to everyone involved who is helping me love myself, my full self, child and all. The value of the tools in this program and podcast are incapable to price.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks Luke! I’m glad the information resonated with you so strongly.

    • merja

      Thank you for your feedback. I’m glad it’s been valuable to you. 🙂

  • foday

    I think the inner child is the critic.

    Quotes in a book called “Self Esteem” written by McKay & Fanning

    “The pathological critic is a term coined by psychologist Eugene Sagan to describe the negative inner voice that attacks and judges you. Everyone has a critical inner voice. But people with low self-esteem tend to have a more vicious and vocal pathological critic.”
    “The critic blames you for things that go wrong. The critic compares you to others – to their achievements and abilities – and finds you wanting. The critic sets impossible standards of perfection and then beats you up for the smallest mistake.”

    I believe this happens when the person uses his 3rd and 4th function and gives it the responsibility that a person would give an adult. The inner child/critic is limited, unlike the 2nd function, so it results to giving the person negative input even though it means well. The inner child acts like a parent and when it does it acts like a critic because it is limited. The 2nd function is your own parent you create yourself, you become your own person, it is your independence from the past.

    McKay & Fanning – “The critic is born during your earliest experience of socialization by your parents. All through childhood, your parents are teaching you which behaviors are acceptable, which are dangerous, which morally wrong, which are lovable, and which are annoying. They do this by hugging and praising you for appropriate behavior and punishing you for dangerous, wrong, or annoying behavior.”

    I am an ISTP my inner child/critic/3rd function is Ni so my critic is creative. My inner child would create embarrassing scenarios then I would react to it by saying that is stupid or that I am stupid in order to control my behavior. This is a form of parenting, creating these embarrassing scenarios so I would be shamed, the embarrassing scenarios are intrusive thoughts. The inner child means well but it is still bad parenting. I caught this pattern of thinking by reading the book and made my parent, 2nd function, a life coach.

    Joel’s inner child/critic is Te and his seem to be the executive kind.

    Merja’s inner child/critic is Ti so she tends to be really strict on herself.

    I remember talking to Antonia about this on Youtube:

    Antonia Dodge9 months ago (edited)
    +foday S There’s a lot more nuance to the relationship we have with our tertiary / 10 Year Old process than we’re usually able to comment upon (for lack of time). I’ve noticed with all types that if our tertiary isn’t “clean” (that is, if there’s shit going on with it and causing it to dominate the cog func dynamic) then we have no real opportunity to get into our auxiliary / Co-Pilot process. It just overwhelms everything else. For an INTP that can be a lack of routine. The more an INTP can discipline themselves into a healthy routine the more their Ne / Exploration process can shine. A lot of INTPs have trouble creating a self-care regime. They don’t have a routinized sleep schedule, they don’t eat well or consistently, they don’t exercise, etc. This energetically takes them out and renders them unable to do high quality Ti / Accuracy thinking and it makes any Ne / Exploration seem overwhelming. So, we HAVE to honor our 10 Year Old. But we can’t let it become a surrogate for the Co-Pilot. It just doesn’t have the scope an INTP needs in order to see a bigger picture. It keeps the INTP myopic and comfort-seeking. It’s really about managing all the parts of us (including the processes that are younger and less sophisticated) without ignoring or neglecting them while making sure they don’t ‘take over’ or hijack the car from the front seat passengers. Thanks for your observations. 🙂 A

    foday S9 months ago
    +Antonia Dodge I think what you are indirectly addressing is the “inner child.” I am bringing up the inner child because of the way you expressed your point of view not because you mentioned the 10 year old or the 3 year old. A healthy adult is someone who is aware of their inner child and does what’s needed to take care of his/her inner child. Your average adult has an inner child and a masculine or feminine side which is subjective. Those who claim that masculinity and femininity are objective are those that define their masculinity and femininity by societys rules.

    Check out Self Esteem by McKay & Fanning it is a good book.

  • VMRR

    Brilliant discussion! Thank you all. Best personality resource on the web. INFJ and Enneatype 3. 😉

  • Juha Stark

    Thank you for a great podcast!

    As for the critic there is a Buddhist practice called Metta meditation. All self-critical individuals should google it 🙂

    INFx is all about sharing compassion. But the human tendency is to share that what we do not receive ourselves. The key is to understand thar our deepest desires to help others are in fact a manifestation of our unconscious desire to be healed. And the only person who can heal us is we ourselves 🙂

    Self-acceptance, self-love and self-confidence. All the flowers need water and so do you 😉

    Best Regards!

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