Just a quick one – this is the answer to an email that came in from a Sanguine Melancholy who wanted to add more “Choleric” traits to his life:
I appreciate everyone who has read this blog and requested my e-book. This book – The Temperament Monologues – is also available as a $.99 download on the Amazon Kindle store.
If you have enjoyed or been helped by this information, would you do me a favor and give the Kindle book a quick review? If you click on this link – it will take you to the Kindle download page. Right under the title you’ll see “review this book”.
I’m also testing my link between WordPress and Facebook – keeping fingers crossed. It’s “supposed” to be simple . . .
Thanks in advance for your consideration.
The mild mannered Dr. Jekyll in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was most likely a Phlegmatic while Mr. Hyde was obviously a Choleric Melancholy. But most of us don’t have a magic chemical elixir that brings out our “hidden personality”.
And that secondary temperament type can often come out and “bite you” unexpectedly. So while you may be comfortable with your easy-going Phlegmatic, strong-willed Choleric, analytical Melancholy or outgoing Sanguine as a primary type, you’ve got to become more familiar with your secondary temperament type.
As I’ve shared before, each of us is a blend of two types – primary and secondary – with our primary being how we USUALLY react to the world. The secondary creeps up when we least expect. For example, an easy-going Phlegmatic type with a Melancholy secondary might go from calm to sharply critical when under stress.
A hard driving Choleric with a Phlegmatic secondary can be “in your face” one minute then calmly discussing how your family is doing the next. The easiest way to identify your secondary type? Weaknesses. The Phlegmatic is a worrier – under pressure do you tend to be fearful and worry? The Choleric can be angry or resentful – under stress do these characteristics come out?
Knowing your secondary type can help you avoid attacks by “Mr. Hyde”.
Some people easily identify their primary temperament type. Without question they know they are Phlegmatic or Melancholy just by reading the basic definition. And some even are fairly quick to identify their secondary type; I usually tell people to look at their weakness for a clue as to their secondary temperament type.
But what if you’ve read the definitions of each type and each blend and still are scratching your head? What you have to remember is that natural temperament is inborn but it’s constantly being changed and molded and affected by life and others and circumstances.
So what clues can you look for to help you identify your primary and secondary type? This article will offer some suggestions. As I’ve said in other places, some of the saddest people I’ve seen (sad to me; not necessarily to themselves) are those who have “put on” behaviors contrary to their natural type for so long that they become second nature.
A Choleric (naturally hard driving) raised by introverted parents may have learned to muffle their natural extroversion. An outgoing Sanguine influenced by Melancholy parents may end up self critical.
So ask yourself the following kinds of questions: Who influenced my upbringing? Were my parents very different from me temperamentally? What teachers or significant others influenced me growing up? How were they different from me and did I try to emulate them instead of just being “me”? What part of the country was I brought up in – it makes me laugh when I occasionally watch “Wheel of Fortune” since you can always spot the contestants from Southern states by their answering questions with “Yes, Sir!” I admit that there are stereotypes everywhere but Easterners tend to be a bit more “in your face” (fuggetaboutit).
What values were prized in your growing up? Did a Melancholy parent impose order and organization on a Sanguine child? Did outgoing family members try to force a Phlegmatic child to be more “social”? Did an angry Choleric “brush off” the inquiries and questions of a Melancholy child? What personal characteristics were valued in your family? Did they “jive” with who you are naturally?
Fundamentally and naturally, a Choleric will be a driver, a Phlegmatic will be easy-going, a Sanguine will be warm and outgoing, and a Melancholy will be organized and analytical. There is no right or wrong but life and circumstances may have layered on other attitudes and behaviors that don’t “match” your natural type. Share your stories in the comments – how has your natural temperament been changed by life?
For some reason I’ve gotten numerous emails recently about the Choleric Melancholy temperament. As I’ve said in some of my writings – this is the most difficult type to deal with and it’s the most difficult type to BE.
A co-worker of mine is a Phlegmatic Melancholy ; I find him interesting so here’s a quick profile.
This person is very easy going, typical of a Phlegmatic. He’s quiet but not overly so and enjoys the office relationships. But he’s also in charge of the financial part of the business and here his Melancholy “shines”. He is very detailed when it comes to business dealings and has everything documented — you could say he crosses his T’s and dots his I’s very carefully.
The temperament combination shows in his reaction to problems or questions regarding technical issues. They typically go along this line: ”With (X) situation you SHOULD do the following (A, B, C) but it’s up to you; whatever you want to do.” This makes me laugh because his Melancholy is clear on what HE thinks should be done but his Phlegmatic always gets in a last word.
So you can spot a Phlegmatic Melancholy by statements like “You SHOULD do such and such but it’s up to you, I don’t care.”
My children’s book of short stories – Tales from the Shadow Clan – is available as a Kindle download. You don’t have to have a Kindle to read Kindle books; there is free software for the iPhone, Android phone and even your PC and Mac.
The book is available here for $.99 — the stories are for children from 7 to 12 years of age.
I get a lot of comments here saying I’m THIS type of temperament but I am still a 1) leader, 2) helper, 3) some other attribute NOT part of their temperament.
Just to reiterate – your temperament is only the foundation; adding in family, upbringing, schooling, encouragement from others – this is your PERSONALITY. A Phlegmatic can become more outgoing if motivated. A Melancholy can learn that their comments can build up and not tear down. A Choleric can learn sensitivity and a Sanguine can learn to be organized.
Don’t blame your place in life totally on your temperament. Use what you learn about your natural “bent” to create a plan of growth and self improvement.
I study interpersonal communication almost as much as temperament. Actually I taught Sophomore Speech and Communication at the college level. So the other day it hit me that our temperament is actually a form of non-verbal communication.
My simplified definition of non-verbal communication is this: everything BUT your words. Your tone of voice, body language, the car you drive, your accent – any of these can communicate to others.
So an outgoing Sanguine would be recognizable by their warm, friendly, “touchy feely” approach. As a Phlegmatic I was surprised to find that some of my high school contemporaries thought me “stuck up” when I was really just quiet. A Melancholy is probably going to be meticulous in their dress.
A Choleric? Well, I’m not sure – what’s your temperament’s non-verbal language?
I’ve recently been dealing with a lot of anxiety — thinks personal, financial and job-related. My primary – Phlegmatic – is easily affected by worry and anxiety but my secondary – Choleric – tends to bull through and look for answers.
But if you combine an anxious Phlegmatic with a critical/analytical Melancholy you have the potential for someone who continually analyzes these anxieties making them worse. A Phlegmatic Melancholy may seem easy-going but still be fearful underneath. The main problem seems to be a sense of “false responsibility” taken for the problems of others. For example, a worrier may think that if they don’t handle their job perfectly they will face job loss. Or is they don’t help a spouse succeed by filling in their weaknesses, the spouse will fail.
The answer? Not a clear one however the Phlegmatic needs to take a sincere and focused look at whether their anxieties are fact-based or simply false responsibility.