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JOEL MARK WITT: Hi, Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge, Personality Hacker, back with Merja Sumiloff talking, again, more about the program The Healing Power of Inner Parenting: The Four People Within. The new program Merja is co-creating with us. We’re talking about self-sabotage. In the last video, we talked a little bit about the three types of triggers. Then we’re going to talk about self sabotage in this video. This is something that I can see in my own life sometimes when I’m going through something. I have this almost tendency to create a situation where there won’t be a solution, like burn something to the ground where I self-sacrifice or I make it almost a martyrdom thing in order to protect my ego. I’ve seen this. I don’t know if you do this. Do you ever self-sabotage sometimes?

ANTONIA DODGE: Oh, yeah. Definitely.

JOEL MARK WITT: Help us understand a little bit more about self-sabotage. I think there’s some distinctions around it. Then give us some more information on what that might look like for somebody.

MERJA SUMILOFF: Sure. Self-sabotage is really any number of ways that we hold ourselves back from the things that are actually important to us in our lives or might even be our purpose path. We do self-sabotage. It can take all kinds of different kinds of forms, as you said there before. It can be like we create a situation that’s negative that’s going to have negative consequences to it and then we have to deal with the consequences instead of taking the steps forward. We might be stuck in a situation that we keep recreating because it’s comfortable. We know what’s going to happen there. It’s this survival way of being, which is, “Oh, let me just overcome this thing over and over again so that I know who I am as a person,” instead of actually exploring yourself further … further outside of what you already know. Does that make sense?


ANTONIA DODGE: Yeah. I think self-sabotage might be a universal human experience. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t do it at least a little bit.


ANTONIA DODGE: I thought it was interesting in your … Oh, you.

JOEL MARK WITT: It’s like a grabbing of control, right? You’re trying to make it on … Even it’s going to be bad, at least it’s on my terms. Is that the framework you’re-

MERJA SUMILOFF: That’s exactly right.

JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah. Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you there.

ANTONIA DODGE: Well, and it could just be controlling timelines like, “I don’t feel ready.”



ANTONIA DODGE: Like you said, if I’m getting closer to maybe being on my path and the thing I’m meant to do and I don’t feel ready for that, then I might create fires, or distractions, or do something where I don’t have to just sit with the thought of, “I don’t feel like I’m ready,” because that might bruise the ego, or feel wrong, or not even of an excuse to not be on your path. Right?

MERJA SUMILOFF: Yeah, that’s right.

ANTONIA DODGE: There’s a lot of things that might be … we’re just trying to avoid that piece of information. Instead, we just create distracting environments. I thought what was interesting in your program is you talked about two primary ways that we self-sabotage. You mentioned they were self-sacrificing and procrastination. Would you be willing to speak a little bit more on … I think on procrastinating I can get that one, but what did you mean by self-sacrificing?

MERJA SUMILOFF: Okay. Self-sacrifice is actually something that I feel really strongly about and connected to because that was my way of self-sabotage, my preferred way of self-sabotage as a rescuer type person. It was all about, “Oh, let me not find out who I am, and what I’m about, and what I can do in the world. Instead, let me help other people, because at least if I can just help other people, then they’ll like me, then I’ll have a place in the world. What if I have to stand up as who I am as the person and it’s going to be a person that is not going to be accepted? Then what?” A lot of that self-sacrifice pattern is coming from a place of, “What if I won’t be accepted? If I don’t put everybody else first, I won’t be accepted. As that, I then won’t be a valid person.”

You’re basically at validity in different levels. You can either explore yourself, who you are, do your personal work, keep going forward on your purpose path and validate yourself, or you can do the self-sabotage way of the self-sacrifice, which is, “Let me try and get other people to validate who I am.”

ANTONIA DODGE: I think that-

MERJA SUMILOFF: That’s the self-sacrifice.

ANTONIA DODGE: Yeah. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. I was just going to say, I bet that’s a really insidious one.


ANTONIA DODGE: The second style that you talk about in the session, in session number three of the program, is procrastination. That’s probably my preferred way of self-sabotage.


ANTONIA DODGE: I’m pretty good at procrastination.

JOEL MARK WITT: Don’t see it, right?

ANTONIA DODGE: Yeah. Also, I have this story around how I perform extremely well in the 11th hour, so I put myself in perpetual 11th hour situations, which of course is totally unsustainable and keeps me constantly distracted in a very zoomed in perspective because I’m feeling all the tension of this last minute situation as opposed to being able to zoom out and take a longer timeline into consideration and figure out exactly which path I should be charting. I’m pretty familiar with the procrastination one. I think most people understand that component. What you just described is probably way more insidious because the narrative on that one is most likely like, “I have to do this. I have to show up for everybody else. I have to be the person. Everything’s riding on me,” or even, “If I don’t do this, then I’m a bad person.”

It feels very altruistic. What are some of the techniques for changing the narratives around self-sacrifice, self-sabotage, to something that is a more healthy narrative even if it feels worse?

MERJA SUMILOFF: Well, one of the big things, which is something we’ve already talked about in a previous recording, is just learning to set boundaries that are actually authentic to who you are. Obviously, a big part of this course, or the major part of this course in particular, is the self-parenting. When you learn to self-parent yourself, when you learn to see those different parts of you as the individual person that they are and then you can from that place, learn to love each of those parts as well as support each of those parts. Of course, that starts from accepting the different parts. Those are the major things that I use to overcome any self-sabotage because when you’re procrastinating, yes, with the self-sacrifice it’s very outwards focused, it’s very, “There it is. There’s that thing. I need to go and fix that before I have the right to do something for myself.” That’s very much the boundary thing.

Then when you have the procrastination, which is, “I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I’m not ready,” what would it actually mean if you were ready? What it mean about you if you were ready? The procrastination then is much more to do with the growth side of the inner parenting work, which is, “You know? You’re not ready as you are right now.” The thing is that you can’t actually get anymore ready until you go out there and play and try things out, because you can’t gather anymore information from the situation where you are right now. No, you’re not ready, but the thing is that you will never be ready. The self-parenting really helps with that, whereas the boundaries really help with the self-sacrificing piece.



ANTONIA DODGE: Well, I’m sure it changes based on personality type. That’s another component that I really appreciate about this program is that it’s designed for people of all personality types. The title The Four People Within actually refers to the four cognitive functions or our mental processes that we talk about in the car model, which is the driver, the copilot, the ten year old, and the three year old. The inner parenting work gets done by addressing those less sophisticated parts, those less sophisticated mental processes as part of the children inside of you that need the parenting. Self-sabotage probably directly relates to all this stuff we’ve talked about so far.

In the first video we talked about boundary setting. In the second video we talked about the drama triangle and triggers. Now we’re talking about this concept of self-sabotage. All of it goes into parenting those fragile parts of who you are that picked up all these messages, all this stuff, and might have some trauma that still needs to be healed. We get really as adults at creating a world where we don’t have to deal with those. We get really good at creating these smoke screens.


ANTONIA DODGE: I really appreciate that component of your program that addresses the nuance of type. You’ll let the person themselves figure out what their cognitive function stack, there was the car model or the people in their car. All of these relate back to it. All of these relate back to the inner parenting work that needs to be done when you’re in a place where you need true healing.


MERJA SUMILOFF: Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting because I hear oftentimes, pretty much 99% of the time, when we’re referring to the inner children, or the inner child, or any of this work, and this type of work. What tends to happen, actually, is that we don’t realize the power that is in the inner children. We tend to look at the inner children as some kind of victims that need to be fixed. Whereas actually, the inner children underneath those wounds are your greatest gifts to the world. I think it’s worth not just healing, not just imposing healing upon the children. Instead, say, “Okay little sweethearts, come here. You’re great. You’re brilliant. Come here. Let’s do stuff together, and let’s be okay with being incompetent in this particular thing so that we can learn more about it so we can sail forward rather than be a failure, that we can actively keep going and keep finding out … ”

It’s basically the grownup parts of you who are in the car model, the front seat passengers, or the front seat people, they need to want to get to know the children. They need to want to really respect those parts of themselves, because children are the ones who bring all the fun into this world, ones face the acute [inaudible 00:10:52] it’s subsiding.

JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah. As parents of an actual, at the time of this recording, a five year old, it’s a joy for us to create the parenting structure that gives her safety, security, the healing if she falls and gets a boo boo, whatever it is, that she can shine and become creative and expressive in her life. Our daughter Piper, I mean, it’s a wonderful joy as a parent. I think that metaphor, it’s literal in our lives with our daughter. The healing parenting work that you’re going to do in this program, it’s healing, yes, but also there’s power. Right? There’s this powerful element of what you’re talking about unleashing the little parts of you that may have been suppressed, didn’t feel like they could come out. It’s exciting because you’re helping to create a container for those parts of you to express themselves that maybe they weren’t able to do before.


JOEL MARK WITT: I think that’s an exciting process to do.

MERJA SUMILOFF: Yeah. You’re no longer … Sorry. You no longer have to be the victim of the kind of parenting-


MERJA SUMILOFF: … you received as a child. You’re now actually choosing your own parenting style and you’re actually going to go for the kind of parenting for yourself that you always wished that you had. You have all the power to heal anything that’s going on in there. You have all the power right now. This course will give you the tools for you to have the kind of parenting you wish you had.

ANTONIA DODGE: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

MERJA SUMILOFF: You can have it all now.


ANTONIA DODGE: I love using type dynamics, which we talk about in primarily an achievement way, type dynamics when it comes to growing your copilot process and having a good relationship with the ten year old and the three year old in the car model. I love the application of this specifically to healing work because the metaphor of inner parenting, and applying that to those parts of who we are that are the ones who end up absorbing a lot of damage, and end up absorbing a lot of limiting beliefs or this idea of how reality works, and getting caught in these mental processes, I love the application of healing to that. I think your program does an amazing job. I want to piggyback on what you just said-


ANTONIA DODGE … which is that the program is designed to give tools and there’s a lot of exercises in it as well. In fact, you make it very clear at the beginning of the program that this is not an intellectual pursuit. This is not something to just gather more information.


ANTONIA DODGE: The true healing works happens through implementing the exercises and actually going out and doing the things that are hard work. If you are, right now, trying to determine if this program is right for you, then be warned that the program is right for people who are willing to not just invest in themselves to get the program, but invest in themselves to actually do the work.

JOEL MARK WITT: To implement.

ANTONIA DODGE: To implement the exercises and to go to those spaces. Merja does a great job of making sure that you’re both falling in love with yourself but also totally taking responsibility. I think that those two things are in conjunction with each other. The more we take responsibility, the more we fall in love with ourselves and vice versa.



ANTONIA DODGE: I think this program is fantastic for that. As you go through the series of videos to determine whether or not The Healing Power of Inner Parenting: The Four People Within is right for you, just keep that in mind. Keep it in mind that this is filled with many exercises, and filled with many moments and opportunities to take responsibility for the inner parenting work.


ANTONIA DODGE: The next video we’re going to talk about letting it go. We’re going to talk a little bit about … We’ve been diagnosing problems and challenges that people might face in these three videos. The next video, we’re going to talk about a solution, which is the concept of letting it go. We’ll see you in the next video.


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