Melancholies need to learn to communicate their feelings; emotionally they are very protective and guarded. The way that a Melancholy demonstrates or says that they love someone is by being dependable and responsible not in physical or verbal terms necessarily. Because of their intellectual and analytical energies they can see the end results of a project before moving forward.
Melancholies have a very sensitive emotional nature; feelings dominate their being. Sometimes moods will lift them to extreme highs; at other times they will be gloomy and depressed. The secondary temperament will often help balance this out. My secondary temperament is Phlegmatic and it most definitely balances these tendencies in me, especially as I get older. Unsocial by nature, meeting new people is difficult and social activities are draining.
Melancholies when rising to their strengths, and once these strengths are brought under God, the Melancholy is capable of great and wonderful things. When Melancholies sink to their weaknesses they become destructive to themselves and those close to them.
There is great comfort and reward when we submit ourselves to God (regardless of what temperament we possess) and learn to live out our strengths in the temperament that He has given us. The Melancholy is very valuable in the body of Christ under His control. Read through the Melancholy’s strengths and carefully consider if the Melancholy would not be a blessing and asset to their family, to the Kingdom of God, the Church, and the community where they live. God help each of us to live in the strengths of our temperament, our in-born “nature”, God has given us.
The pure Melancholy for example is an introvert and a loner. Melancholies are more task oriented as opposed to relationship-oriented. Melancholies tend to be perfectionists and set unreasonable standards and goals for themselves and the people around them.
Melancholies are very loyal people: to their family and friends. If they make a promise the Melancholy will keep it. Melancholies are very creative people, but are prone to deep depression. They are very private people, as well as very serious.
They are self-motivated, and do not respond to the promise of reward nor the threat of punishment.
Often they are not satisfied with only one chance at something because they feel they could always do better. They tend to take a more realistic viewpoint. A Melancholy knows their limitations and they rarely take on more than they can do.
The Melancholy temperament is the most self-centered; their extreme sensitive nature causes them to be easily offended or insulted. They can be suspicious and jump to unfounded conclusions. They have the tendency to self-examine themselves to the degree that they become inactive, and unenergetic; over thinking everything can cause a variety of problems.
Melancholies may be calm and quiet on the surface but they are often angry and resentful. They tend to keep those feelings to themselves until they build up and eventually the anger explodes in a fit of rage.
Introvert, loner, great thinker, genius-prone, very artistic and creative, often found alone in thought, perfectionistic, slow-paced, great understanding of tasks and systems, a critical and challenging mind, and seeing both the pitfalls and the end results of a project undertaken.
Extremely moody, suffer from “black” depressions, reject people, set standards neither they nor anyone else can meet, develop habits that are very hard to break, have suicidal tendencies, low self-esteem and are pessimistic.
Good at decisions and responsibilities in known areas, very good leadership abilities. They adhere to the rules and they need very little control over the lives and behavior of others.
Rigid, inflexible, sensitive to failure, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, apt to be a rebel and procrastinate.
Very faithful, loyal friend and self-sacrificing. Their feelings run deep and tender (even though they lack the ability to express these feelings). They easily empathize with others and have the ability to make very deep commitments.
They dissect the past with theoretical “what ifs,” i.e., “what if” he had given me flowers, I would feel loved; “what if” I were prettier, they would love me more. Also, they are critical of others, angry, cruel, vengeful, emotional, rarely tell people how they feel, have a low self-image and are sensitive to rejection from deep relationships. The loss of a deep relationship (even by death) is devastating to them. Melancholies “have sex” with their spouse; they do not “make love” to them.
As we start a new school year, Mr. Smith, I just want you to know that I'm an Abstract Sequential learner and trust that you'll conduct yourself accordingly!"
Links to various websites/blogs I found about the temperaments.
Check out titles on the lower right. This blog writer calls temperament personality.
This is a book containing all five temperaments. I just started reading it myself. It is more like a course, but so far I like it. I wanted to know more about the fifth (Supine) temperament and since so little is written about it I bought it. It is available as book only, with a temperament test with a 3 page report or a temperament test with a 7-8 page professional report. There is also some kind of workbook available. I bought the book only. If I didn't already know my temperament for certain I would opt for the 7-8 page selection. A reader emailed me the link for which I am very thankful.
I happen to be extremely sensitive. Well, that's what my husband says. OK, he's right!
Now what is the dictionary meaning of sensitive?
"easily becoming upset about things that people do or say to you"
I read the following ".....and when other personality types merely get their feelings hurt, I’m devastated", and realized I needed to add a section on my Melancholy page about being oversensitive so here it is.
It is so ridiculously true I just don't know what to say. I am trying to be more aware when it happens (it's always my husband who hurts my feelings - we're together almost 24/7) so that I can choose to let it go if it is possible. Most people have heard the saying "choose your battles". This applies in a big way to the oversensitive Melancholy. Come on fellow Mel.'s, do we really have to take EVERYTHING so seriously?
I don't have a pat answer. It takes work and being on guard daily. It takes a lot of honestly with yourself and being willing to admit that you are in fact "thin-skinned".
It helps to accept this about yourself while not always defending yourself. I see it as the flip side to the good kind of sensitive. It is annoying to others and I have come to see that the comments or tone of voice that make me cry is not always about me. Sometimes my husband just IS THAT WAY and there is nothing wrong with that.
Do we really believe everyone else should change?
I believe God knows what he is doing and having a husband who is on the harsh side can actually help me become less over sensitive if I cooperate. There has to be presence of mind involved. My dad was harsh all my life so I see it as God preparing me for my husband. I am thankful for that.
I do not enjoy the feeling of having my feelings hurt SO EASILY, I do like the way it feels to think things through and choose my battles.
Additional note (added 4/27/15):
I received an email (I will keep it anonymous) in March 2015 and her comment concerning the melancholy temperament I have written about was this: "I have seen 18 points which seemed to turn into negative points". I emailed her back and told her I would read it all again and determine if I thought changes needed to be made. I read it twice about three weeks apart and I just don't see it. My take on it is this: We melancholies do indeed have many weaknesses and in the case where I refer to them it is not coming from a negative frame of mind but rather stating traits and perhaps only if you are a melancholy can you understand and appreciate reading these traits. The part that is puzzling to me is the statement about 18 points which seemed to turn negative. I didn't see any points turn negative. There was contrast but that is under all the temperaments and that is not "turning" negative. So I will just have to treat this as one of those occasions to agree to disagree. She wrote a lot more and it was mostly encouraging, I don't want to paint a distorted picture of this individual. I appreciate and respect persons who call it like they see it and who among us is above being challenged?
I have to look at the feedback statistics - I have received quite a few emails regarding this website and 5 are regarding giving or wanting additional information, 2 asking for advice, the one I spoke of prompting this additional note, 3 misc., 1 complaint that my Supine temperament page was out of balance (which I wholeheartedly agree and am educating myself further on the newer fifth Supine temperament to bring it into balance), and 13 specifically regarding the Melancholy pages and how much they were helped from them. That is a three word summary based on some lengthy and in depth email conversations. I invite any and all viewpoints and am grateful for each and every email.
I have more information on the melancholy temperament because I am one. Melancholy/Phlegmatic actually! Sorry if I tend to be slightly repetitive.
More on the Melancholy!
I have enjoyed studying the four (now five) basic temperaments since I was a teen. Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, Phlegmatic and Supine. It has helped immensely in my understanding and acceptance of myself and other people. I'm actually a Melancholy-Phlegmatic. A long definition of the Melancholy temperament follows: Most people won't read it but many melancholies will - LOL
THE MELANCHOLIC TEMPERAMENT
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MELANCHOLIC TEMPERAMENT - The following I found on a website that was for training teachers. I changed it somewhat to make more sense for personal use.
The melancholy person is but feebly excited by whatever acts upon her. The reaction is weak, but this feeble impression remains for a long time and by subsequent similar impressions grows stronger and at last excites the mind so vehemently that it is difficult to eradicate it. (This is a fancy way of saying it takes a long time for things to sink in and when they do the Melancholy finally reacts.)
1. Inclined to reflect. The thinking of the melancholy easily turns into reflection. The thoughts of the melancholy are far-reaching. She dwells with pleasure upon the past and is preoccupied by occurrences of the long ago; she is penetrating; if not satisfied with the superficial, searches for the cause and correlation of things; seeks the laws which affect human life, the principles according to which man should act. Her thoughts are of a wide range; she looks ahead into the future; ascends to the eternal. When a thing ignites the passion within a Melancholy her soul is fixed on it yet she hardly permits her fierce excitement to be noticed outwardly. The undisciplined melancholy is easily given to brooding and to day-dreaming. (Unfortunately this is true - when something excites me oftentimes no one would ever know.)
2. Love of retirement. The melancholy does not feel at home among a crowd for any length of time; she loves silence and solitude. Being inclined to introspection she secludes herself from the crowds, forgets her environment, and makes poor use of her senses - eyes, ears, etc. In company she is often distracted, because she is absorbed by her own thoughts. (My husband is the one who is social between the two of us. I'm so glad or I might just be a hermit a little too much for my own good.)
3. Inclined to be passive. The melancholy is a passive temperament. The person possessing such a temperament, therefore, has not the vivacious, quick, progressive, active propensity, of the choleric or sanguine, but is slow, pensive, reflective. It is difficult to move her to quick action, since she has a marked inclination to passivity and inactivity. (Put me on the computer and set me in the corner and I will do what I am told and won't bother you, or give me any kind of project you need done that I can do.)
4. She is reserved. She finds it difficult to form new acquaintances and speaks little among strangers. She reveals her inmost thoughts reluctantly and only to those whom she trusts. She does not easily find the right word to express and describe her sentiments. (But on paper [computer] I surely do!!!) She yearns often to express herself, because it affords her real relief, to confide the thoughts which burden her heart to a person who sympathizes with her. [Which is the root reason I am compelled to write about the Melancholy temperament - in effort to give other Melancholies someone to relate to.] (Perhaps why I love making websites about thinking, emotions, issues, beliefs, etc.) On the other hand, it requires great exertion on her part to manifest herself, and, when she does so, she goes about it so awkwardly that she does not feel satisfied and finds no rest. (Now I understand why I am never satisfied with what I write, forever perfecting it) Such experiences tend to make the melancholic more reserved. (When talking - yes. I hear what I am saying and conclude it did not convey what I really wanted to say.)
5. The melancholy is irresolute. On account of too many considerations and too much fear of difficulties and of the possibility that her plans or works may fail, the melancholy can hardly reach a decision being inclined to defer her decision. What she could do today she postpones for tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or even for the next week. She is never finished. The melancholy is a person of missed opportunities. While she sees that others have crossed the creek long ago, she still deliberates whether she too should and can jump over it. Because the melancholy discovers many ways by her reflection and has difficulties in deciding which one to take, she easily gives way to others, and does not stubbornly insist on her own opinion. (I do find it easy to be flexible in many things, but I also have a stubborn will of iron at times which mostly comes from my secondary Phlegmatic temperament.)
6. The melancholy is despondent and without courage. She is pusillanimous (cowardly) and timid if she is called upon to begin a new work, to execute a disagreeable task, to venture on a new undertaking. She has a strong will (On no, both of my temperaments have a strong will - no wonder.) coupled with talent and power, but no courage. It has become proverbial therefore: "Throw the melancholy into the water and she will learn to swim." If difficulties in her undertakings are encountered by the melancholy, even if they are only very insignificant, she feels discouraged and is tempted to give up the ship, instead of conquering the obstacle and repairing the ill success by increased effort. (Yes, I do admit - sometimes obstacles make me retreat.)
7. The melancholy is slow and awkward. She is slow in her thinking. She feels it necessary, first of all, to consider and reconsider everything until she can form a calm and safe judgment. (It has been my personal experience in a group of any size that by the time I form what I want to say the Sanguines (extroverts) have moved the conversation three topics up the road. If there are Sanguines present I am exhausted before long.)
8. She is slow in her speech. If she is called upon to answer quickly or to speak without preparation, or if she fears that too much depends on her answer, she becomes restless and does not find the right words and consequently often makes a false and unsatisfactory reply. This slow thinking may be the reason why the melancholy often stutters, leaves her sentences incomplete, uses wrong phrases, or searches for the right expression. She is also slow, not lazy, at her work or activities. She works carefully and reliably, but only if she has ample time and is not pressed. She herself naturally does not believe that she is a slow worker. (It is not the usual for me to answer aloud when in a group larger than a few. I notice often I have the right answer, but just don't want to be wrong in front of people. This however, is changing and I have volunteered an answer many times in the last five or six years and when I am wrong I am fine. YAY!)
9. The pride of the melancholy has its very peculiar side. She does not seek honor or recognition; on the contrary, she is loathe to appear in public and to be praised. But she is very much afraid of disgrace and humiliation. She often displays great reserve and thereby gives the impression of modesty and humility; in reality she retires only because she is afraid of being put to shame. She allows others to be preferred to her, even if they are less qualified and capable than herself for the particular work, position, or office, but at the same time she feels slighted because she is being ignored and her talents are not appreciated. (Well, what's a girl to do? Sounds like I want and don't want recognition at the same time. I'd say that about sums it up.)
From what has been said so far, it is evident that it can be difficult to deal with melancholies. Because of their peculiarities they are frequently misjudged and treated wrongly. (Boo-hoo poor me! LOL) The melancholy feels keenly and therefore retires and secludes herself. Also, the melancholy has few friends, because few understand her and because she takes few into her confidence. (Every time I have ever had a close friend it ended badly. I could say this is all because of me - it might be but I don't know for sure. On the other hand many people in my life can talk to me easily and I automatically sound like a counselor when I respond to them. It has been that way since I was a teen-ager. One on one is my area, but I can also talk in front of a group of any size when necessary at this time in my life now.)
10. The melancholy is often a great benefactor to others. She is a good counselor in difficulties, and a prudent, trustworthy, and well-meaning superior. She has great sympathy for others and a keen desire to help them. She is encouraged to action, she is willing to make great sacrifices for her neighbor and is strong and unshakable in the battle for ideals. Schubert, in his Psychology, says of the melancholy nature: "It has been the prevailing mental disposition of the most sublime poets, artists, of the most profound thinkers, the greatest inventors, legislators, and especially of those spiritual giants who at their time made known to their nations the entrance to a higher and blissful world of the Divine, to which they were carried by an insatiable longing." (I have to imagine that if you are not a Melancholy this last sentence may sound like gibberish to you.)
11. She feels that she has nothing but sorrow and grief. Finally this disposition may culminate in actual despondency and despair. (My secondary temperament Phlegmatic balances this out at this time in my life thankfully, but I spent years in my earlier life battling despondency.)
12. The melancholy who gives way to sad moods, falls into many faults and becomes a real burden to others.
a) She easily loses confidence in her fellow-man because of slight defects which she discovers in them.
b) She is vehemently exasperated and provoked by disorder or injustice. The cause of her exasperation is often justifiable, but rarely to the degree felt.
c) She can hardly forgive offenses. The first offense she ignores quite easily. But renewed offenses penetrate deeply into the soul and can hardly be forgotten. Her spouse is the exception. Strong aversion easily takes root in her heart against persons from whom she has suffered, or in whom she finds this or that fault. This aversion becomes so strong that she can hardly see these persons without new excitement, that she does not want to speak to them and is exasperated by the very thought of them. Usually this aversion is abandoned only after the melancholy is separated from persons who incurred her displeasure and at times only after months or even years.
d) She is very suspicious. She rarely trusts people and is always afraid that others have a grudge against her. Thus she often and without cause entertains uncharitable and unjust suspicion about her neighbor, conjectures evil intentions, and fears dangers which do not exist at all.
e) She sees everything from the dark side. She is peevish, always draws attention to the serious side of affairs, complains regularly about the perversion of people, bad times, downfall of morals, etc. Her motto is: things grow worse all along. Offenses, mishaps, obstacles she always considers much worse than they really are. The consequence is often excessive sadness, unfounded vexation about others, brooding for weeks and weeks on account of real or imaginary insults. Melancholy persons who give way to this disposition to look at everything through dark glasses, gradually become pessimists, that is, persons who always expect a bad result.
f) She finds peculiar difficulties in correcting people. As said above she is vehemently excited at the slightest disorder or injustice and feels obliged to correct such disorders, but at the same time she has very little skill or courage in making corrections. She deliberates long on how to express the correction; but when she is about to make it, the words fail her, or she goes about it so carefully, so tenderly and reluctantly that it can hardly be called a correction. (This is so true, by the time I finally say something it is not even clear what I am saying and it would have been better to keep my mouth shut, which I am learning to do, thankfully.) (Much of the negative stuff above is definitely how I used to be, but over the years a lot has changed. Some aspects I catch myself easily falling back into when the setting supports it, but most of it I catch quite soon or have just stopped doing.)
13. If the melancholy tries to master her timidity, she easily falls into the opposite fault of shouting her correction excitedly, angrily, in unsuited or scolding words, so that again her reproach loses its effect. This difficulty is the besetting cross of melancholy superiors. They are unable to discuss things with others, therefore, they swallow their grief and permit many disorders to creep in, although their conscience recognizes their duty to interfere. Melancholy educators, too, often commit the fault of keeping silent too long about a fault of their charges and when at last they are forced to speak, they do it in such an unfortunate and harsh manner, that the pupils become discouraged and frightened by such admonitions, instead of being encouraged and directed.
A. She should always, especially during attacks of melancholy, say to herself: ''It is not so bad as I imagine. I see things too darkly," or "I am being pessimistic."
B. She must from the beginning resist every feeling of aversion, diffidence, discouragement, or despondency, so that these evil impressions can take no root in the soul.
C. She must keep herself continually occupied, so that she finds no time for brooding. Persevering work will master all.
D. She is bound to cultivate the good side of her temperament and especially her inclination to interior life. She must struggle continually against her weaknesses. (Understanding and accepting this helps the daily life of a Melancholy immensely.)
E. Upon close observation you will notice that melancholy persons are especially inclined to have their own way, to say everything that comes into their mind, to watch for the faults of others in order to hide their own and to find peace in that which is according to their own liking. She frequently is much excited, full of disgust and bitterness, because she occupies herself too much with the faults of others, and again because she would like to have everything according to her own will and notion.
F. She can get into bad humor and discouragement on account of the most insignificant things. If she feels very downcast she should ask herself whether she concerned herself too much about the faults of others.
14. It is necessary to have a sympathetic understanding of the melancholy. In her entire manner of conduct she presents many riddles to those who do not understand the peculiarities of the melancholy temperament. It is necessary, therefore, to study it and at the same time to find out how this temperament manifests itself in each individual. Without this knowledge great mistakes cannot be avoided.
15. It is necessary to gain the confidence of the melancholy person. This is not at all easy and can be done only by giving her a good example in everything and by manifesting an unselfish and sincere love for her. Like an unfolding bud opens to the sun, so the heart of the melancholy person opens to the sunshine of kindness and love.
16. One must always encourage her. Rude reproach, harsh treatment, hardness of heart cast her down and paralyze her efforts. Friendly advice and patience with her slow actions give her courage and vigor. She will show herself very grateful for such kindness. [Note to self: show this to my husband! :)]
17. It is well to keep her always busy, but do not overburden her with work.
18. In the training of a melancholy child, special care must be taken to be always kind and friendly, to encourage and keep her busy. The child, moreover, must be taught always to pronounce words properly, to use her five senses, and to cultivate piety. Special care must be observed in the punishment of the melancholy child, otherwise obstinacy and excessive reserve may result. Necessary punishment must be given with precaution and great kindness and the slightest appearance of injustice must be carefully avoided.