THE PHLEGMATIC IN CONTROL
Dr. Phyllis J. Arno
We are going to examine the Phlegmatic 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 Phlegmatic in Control strengths: decision maker, delegator, negotiator, arbitrator, peacemaker, practical, stable, conservative.
The Phlegmatic in Control weaknesses: tendency to procrastinate, difficult to motivate, stubborn, uses verbal defenses that can be hurtful to others.
“A Phlegmatic is a Phlegmatic is a Phlegmatic.” Even though they are task oriented, a Phlegmatic still needs people. It does not matter whether they are a Phlegmatic 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 Phlegmatic in Control spouse, child, co-worker, friends, family members, neighbors, etc.
- Q. Why are they so independent?
- A. They do not like to be controlled because they know what they are capable of handling and, if someone controls them, they may drain their low energy.
- Q. Why do they “dig in their heels” and refuse to budge when I suggest making changes?
- A. Their thought is, “Why use up my energy fixing something that is not broken?”
- Q. Why do they resent making changes in an effort to make things better?
- A. Change may force them to expend time and energy.
- Q. When I push them to effect change, why will they shut down and not
communicate with me?
- A. They are stubbornly protecting what little energy they have.
- Q. Why do they at times appear aloof and distant?
- A. They do not want you to approach them.
- Q. Why are they non-committal and unwilling to give me an answer when asked to participate in a project or event?
- A. They do not want to participate so they will not obligate.
- Q. Why will they procrastinate after they commit to do a project?
- A. They do not have the energy to complete the project.
- Q. Why are they such good peacemakers?
- A. They have the God-given ability to work with leaders to keep the peace for all concerned.
- Q. Why are they so willing to work to keep the peace?
- A. They want peace in their own lives.
- Q. Why are they such good negotiators?
- A. They do not like conflict. Their motto could be: “Let’s make peace, not war.”
- Q. Why do I find myself looking to them to help me with my decisions?
- A. They have the capability of making good decisions.
- Q. Why do I tend to turn to them to help me find people who can handle difficult situations?
- A. They are capable of finding the right people for the right job and will delegate responsibilities to them.
- Q. Why do they put me down with cutting and sarcastic remarks?
- A. This is a defense mechanism to keep you from controlling them.
- Q. Why can’t I motivate them to change their plans?
- A. They want to take the path of least resistance to protect their energy, and will become immovable once they have made a decision.
- Q. Why do they use their humorous and sometimes sarcastic remarks to put me down if I don’t do something exactly the way they want it done?
- A. They are perfectionistic and will not tolerate imperfection.
- Q. Why are they always “too tired to get involved”?
- A. They have a very low energy level.
- Q. Why do they seem to procrastinate about everything?
- A. They do not want to use up what precious little energy they have.
- Q. Why do they, at times, tend to allow their children to make decisions on their own?
- A. It physically drains them to have to make decisions regarding their children.
- Q. Why will they, at other times, tend to make decisions for their children?
- A. Their decision is based on their need to protect their energy; if not making a decision will cause them to use more energy, then they will make a decision.
- Q. Why do they go home and flop on the couch and stay there all evening?
- A. They are exhausted; they have run out of energy.
- Q. Why do they just want to sit around eating all evening?
- A. This is comfort food for them after having dealt with the pressures of the day.
- Q. What are some of the ways other temperaments may respond to the Phlegmatic in Control?
- A. The Choleric might say: “Why does it take you so long to do your part? We are not going to receive any recognition for doing this project if we do not get it completed on time. “Why are you procrastinating?”The Melancholy might say: “This project was supposed to be completed weeks ago. Do your part and let’s get it finished; you are making our team look irresponsible!”
The Sanguine might say: “Let’s get moving on this project. I will work with you. Just stop procrastinating; you’re making us all look bad and we will never get out of here until midnight!”
The Supine might say: “Let me know when you want to start the project. I will help you, if you will help me.”
- Q. How can I live and/or work with this Phlegmatic in Control? They are frustrating me and driving me crazy!
- A. Enlightenment and understanding is the key.
Encourage them to be aware that their dry humor can be humorous or it can be cutting, rude, and sometimes painful to those toward whom they are directing their remarks. They do not always realize that their humor is harsh—they are just trying to protect themselves—it is a defense mechanism. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11Encourage them to stay involved in life. They can become so busy protecting their energy that life passes them by. They can almost become non-existent to their families because they do not want to get involved in family projects and overtax their energy. They need to learn to triage their responsibilities in order to meet the needs of the day. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:7
Encourage them to start exercising and/or walking. They need to take care of their physical body as they have a tendency to want to sit at the computer, watch television, or sleep. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:19-20
Encourage them to eat healthier and to stop snacking on junk foods. This will give them more energy. Eating junk foods to reward or indulge themselves can only add to their stress because they will be filling their body with starches, etc., and depleting their already low energy even more. The key is to maintain balance. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31
PLEASE NOTE: These are temperament tendencies, and, as always, while you are counseling the Phlegmatic 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 Phlegmatic in Control counselee might ask.