Temperament Corner

By Dr. Phyllis J. Arno

Temperament Corner by, Dr. Phyllis J. ArnoWe are going to examine the Supine 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.

Some of the Supine in Control strengths include: dependability, ability to uphold and enforce “the policies” and/or rules set by others and to serve those they follow. They are caregivers, and they are faithful and loyal.

Some of the Supine in Control weaknesses include: internalized anger, dependence on others for leadership, weak willpower, difficulty in saying no to self and others, and tendency to feel powerless and at the mercy of others.

“A Supine is a Supine is a Supine.”  In other words, a Supine needs people.  It does not matter whether they are a Supine in Inclusion, Control or Affection, the bottom line is: THEY NEED PEOPLE! In this issue we are going to review possible questions a Supine in Control counselee might ask.

Q.  Why am I so easily offended by people when they do not include me when they are making decisions that affect me?
A.  You perceive that they are rejecting you.
Q.   Why do I dislike being the one who must make decisions for the project we are working on?
A.   You do not want the responsibility.
Q.   Why do I prefer that others make the rules so that I can uphold and enforce them?
A.    It is less stressful for you.
Q.   Why do I feel stressed, anxious and insecure one day, but the next day I do not?
A.   You feel incapable of making leadership decisions on your own and become stressed, anxious, insecure and fearful; then, when you find someone to help you make your decisions, the stress lifts off  you.
Q.   Why do I feel powerless and at the mercy of others?
A.   You feel that you do not have the strength to stand up to them.
Q.   Why do I pull away from people if they don’t include me when making decisions that affect me?
A.   You feel “hurt” (angry) and rejected.
Q.   Why do I sometimes sulk, pout and pull away from people?
A.   This is your way of letting them know that they have “hurt” (angered) you.
Q.   Why don’t I just come out and say “I’m angry” instead of “I am hurt”?
A.   You tend to feel that saying “I am hurt” is less offensive and confrontational.
Q.   What do you mean when you say I have indirect behaviors?
A.   You take the “roundabout” way.  You act like you do not want to be included in decision making, but you really do.
Q.   Why do I do this?
A.   You want people to know or “read your mind” without having to tell them that you want to be included in their decision making and, at times, you want them to help you make your decisions.
Q.   Why do I wait to be included or invited in the decision making?
A.   You want people to be genuine, and you feel that if you have to ask to be included, that they really did not want to include you.
Q.   Why do I have a difficult time saying “no”?
A.   You need people to help you make your decisions, so you will not say “no” to them because you tend to think, “If I help them, they will help me.”
Q.   Why do you say I have a gentle spirit? What does this mean?
A.   You tend to be kind and tenderhearted.  You are not harsh or severe.
Q.   Why will my friends pull away from me when I keep coming to them for help with making my decisions?
A.   They may feel that you are becoming too dependent on them.
Q.   After someone gives me advice, why do I disregard their suggestions and listen to someone else’s advice?
A.   You don’t like to offend anyone, so you will go along with what the next person tells you.
Q.   Why will I continue to take abuse from my spouse?
A.   You may feel like you have done something to deserve being abused and, if you left this abusive situation, your thoughts  might be: “Where would I go?” and “Who will take care of me?” You may even think, “If I tell myself that they do not really mean to hurt me, things will get better.”
Q.   Why do I feel like I must have done something to deserve being abused?
A.   You have low self-esteem, and you need to replace your self-esteem with Christ esteem.
Q.   Why will I look to my children to help me make decisions?
A.   You do not like to make decisions alone, so you will solicit their help.
Q.   Why will I be so different at home than when I am in school?
A.  Your decisions are usually made for you at home so you do not have to make decisions on your own.  At school you have to make decisions on your own and you  are afraid that you will make the wrong decision and be rejected.
Q.    What can I do about my feelings of rejection and worthlessness?
A.    You need to see yourself as uniquely created by God.  You are His child and as His child, you have Christ-esteem, not self-esteem, and you can do all things through Christ Jesus.  (See Philippians 4:13)
Q.    What can I do about my “hurt” feelings?
A.   Recognize that your “hurt” feelings are actually internalized anger.  You need to learn to say, “I am angry because….”  Identifying why you are angry is the first step to rid yourself of this anger and the stress that accompanies it.
Q.    Why do I get stressed when I have to make a leadership decision alone?
A.   You tend to feel that your decisions will not be accepted.
Q.    Why do I want to run away when I am overwhelmed?
A.   You feel this will lessen your stress; however, you can never run away from yourself. To lessen your stress, turn it over to God; He will help you.

Q.   What can I do to help myself?


1. Learn to be direct. When you want to be included in decision making or when you need help from others with your leadership decisions, tell them that you want to be included; they cannot read your mind.

2.  Develop a close relationship with the Lord and seek His help in making your decisions. He will always be there for you.  He is just a prayer away. Hebrews 13:5 tells us, “…for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

3.  Know in your heart that God created you and you are valuable to Him. Psalm 139:14 tells us, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

4. Understand that God created you a follower to uphold and enforce the rules and you are valuable to the Kingdom of God.  God made leaders, followers, peacemakers/negotiators, writers, artists, singers, etc., because it takes all of the temperaments to make up the Body of Christ.

5.  Learn that you do not have to take abuse from anyone.  No one deserves to be abused.

6.  Learn to maintain balance in your work and rest and  that it is okay to say “no.” You do not have to do more than you are capable of doing. God only requires reasonable service.

7.  Learn that when you say “I am hurt,” you are really angry.  You need to say, “I am angry because…” and rid yourself of this anger so that you do not lose your gentle spirit.

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

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2 thoughts on “Temperament Corner”

  1. Four years ago I learned that I am Supine|Supine|Supine Compulsive. At first I struggled with the Lord to think that He made me like that on purpose. But then again, as a Supine, I tended to focus only on the negative. Thank you, Dr. Phyllis, for being an example of a healthy Supine and for all the wisdom and work you and your husband have put into these teachings. I’ve learned so much, and this month’s blog is once again a reminder that I’m valuable, and that I can learn to know it even more. I’ve been teaching Temperament at my church for the last two years and thoroughly enjoy it each time. I’ve done about 100 profiles in a church of 200 adults. Again, thanks for everything.

    1. Thank you for your testimony. God made us Supines so that we can fulfill the call He has on our life.
      It takes all the temperaments to make up the Body of Christ, and I am happy to be the Supine part of
      the Body. Supines are very good teachers and as you teach and encourage other Supines how God created them, they, too, will be able to fulfill the call He has on their life. Shalom! Dr. Phyllis

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