Temperament Corner

By Dr. Phyllis J. Arno

Temperament Corner by, Dr. Phyllis J. Arno We are going to examine the Melancholy in Control.

In review, Control is the need to establish and maintain a satisfactory relationship with people in respect to decision making, control and power.

The Melancholy in Control strengths include: good decision-making and leadership capabilities in known areas, need for little control over the lives and behaviors of others, ability to work with others, dependability, responsibility, reliability, need for truth and order, and being self-motivated.

The Melancholy in Control weaknesses include: fear of the unknown, rigidity, inflexibility, sensitivity to failure, rebelliousness, procrastination and being strong- willed.

“A Melancholy is a Melancholy is a Melancholy.”  Even though they are task oriented, a Melancholy still needs people.  It does not matter whether they are a Melancholy in Inclusion, Control or Affection, the bottom line is: THEY NEED PEOPLE!

In this issue we are going to review possible questions a counselee might ask regarding their Melancholy in Control spouse, child, co-worker, friends, family members, neighbors, etc.

Q.  Why do they put up a “no” wall when I suggest making a change?
A.   They fear change.
Q.  Why do they fear change?
A   Change forces them to move into unknown areas.
Q.  Why is this so difficult for them?
A.  They are afraid they will fail.
Q.  Why do they procrastinate?
A.   They need time for the unknown to become known so they can make the right decision.
Q.  Why can’t they just go to plan “b” if plan “a” does not work?
A.  They are afraid they will look foolish and incompetent.
Q.  Why will they complete a project without checking their work?
A.   The need to look competent is more important to them than the actual competency.
Q.  Why do they get angry if I point out a mistake that they have made?
A.  They are usually not angry at you, they are angry at themselves for making the mistake.
Q.  Why are they so hard on themselves if they make a mistake?
A.  They feel that they have not been responsible and/or reliable.
Q.  Why do they sometimes rebel or do the exact opposite when I make a suggestion or tell them how I think the project should be done?
A.  They do not like to be controlled.   
Q.  Why will they, at times, become angry if I try to make a suggestion regarding their leadership decisions?
A.  You may have made a suggestion regarding a “known area,” and they do not need or want your input.
Q.  Why will they sometimes go along with my suggestions?
A.  They may need your input because they are in an “unknown” area.
Q.  Why are they more willing to do something for me when I say, “Would you do this for me?” or “Could you do this for me?”
A.  They like the words “would you” or “could you.”  When you say these words, they do not feel controlled.
Q.  Why do they follow some people and not others?
A.  They will usually follow someone that they feel is a “general.”  In other words, if a person has proven that he is knowledgeable in a specific area, they will be open to take advice from him.
Q.  Why do they become stressed if they have to make an “on the spot” decision?
A.  They feel incapable of making a decision until they have had ample time to assess the situation.
Q.  Why is their rule “one strike and you are out” if you ever lie to them?
A.  They expect and need truthfulness from people.  If you lie to them, they will have a difficult time ever trusting you again.
Q.  Why do they have a difficult time making and enforcing rules for their children?
A.  They do not like to control them; they just want their children to grow up and be responsible,  reliable and dependable.
Q.  Why do they tend to allow their children to make decisions on their own?
A.  It is just too much stress for the Melancholy in Control to be responsible for themselves, let alone their children.
Q.  Why do they get so upset when they see injustice in the world?  
A.  They tend to believe “right is right and wrong is wrong,” so when they see injustice, they believe they need to do something about it.
Q.  What are some of the ways other temperaments may respond to the Melancholy in Control?
A. The Choleric might say:  “Why don’t you step out of your safety zone and make a decision? It could be the right decision.”
The Phlegmatic might say:  “Just make a decision. You are tiring me out with your procrastinating.” 
The Sanguine might say:  “Stop putting up your ‘no’ wall and agree with me!  You are throwing me into my swing because I feel you are saying that my plan is not good enough!”
The Supine might say:  “I helped you with your decision making. Why won’t you help me with making mine?”
Q.  How can I live with this Melancholy in Control?  They are absolutely driving me crazy!
A.  Enlightenment and understanding is the key. 

Encourage them to face their fears.  God tells us not to fear approximately 366 times in the Bible. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22 

Encourage them to submit to God’s authority. By submitting to His authority, they will be able to submit to those in authority over them in the workplace, at church, at home, etc.  Melancholies in Control need to learn to give permission to those in authority over them and by so doing, the Melancholy is still in control.  “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Romans 13:1

Encourage them to seek the Lord’s help in making decisions in their unknown areas, and then they will be able to make their decisions with confidence.  This will lessen their fear of the unknown, and they will then be able to say as Paul said in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” 

Encourage them that if their trust has been violated, they need to forgive the person or persons who violated that trust.  They need to remember that we serve a God of second chances. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

PLEASE NOTE:  These are temperament tendencies, and, as always, while you are counseling the Melancholy in Control, you must take into consideration their walk with the Lord, learned behavior, personality and birth order.

In the next issue we will cover possible questions a Melancholy in Control counselee might ask. 

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2 thoughts on “Temperament Corner”

    1. Birth order and the Melancholy

      First borns will tend to be more responsible.
      Middle child may have problems with rejection and low self-esteem
      (especially if they were a last born and were treated like a last born
      and then another sibling came along)
      Last borns can be a little selfish at times and demanding because everyone
      gives them a lot of attention–even the other siblings. They may be more able to socialize because of the attention they receive.

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