A Deep Dive into the Phlegmatic...
God did not make a dysfunctional personality type...
Operating in LOVE, a Phlegmatics easygoing nature is an excellent combination that ensures they are the favorite in any group.
Operating in FEAR, the Phlegmatic doesn't care about doing anything and is indifferent and indecisive.
As we look at each of these temperaments to examine ourselves, we should pay attention to those strengths that walking in LOVE produces, such as positive responses from others and lifting our self-image.
We should also pay special attention to the weaknesses that walking in FEAR brings that are offensive to others.
Our part is to be aware of our strengths when walking in LOVE and our weakness when walking in Fear. Trusting in God's Word helps us overcome our fears.
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
When operating in Love, the Phlegmatic is…
Adaptable | Friendly | The Diplomat
Characteristic needs: peace and quiet
Personality need: Sense of value as a person
THE PHLEGMATIC / THE NON –COMBATANT
Relating to Abraham as a Phlegmatic…
“A good Bible illustration of listening to God and not listening to God in the life of a phlegmatic is Abraham. When Abraham listened to God, he was ready to go out without knowing where he was going, confidently relying on God to tell him where to go. When not listening to God he was in fear. Abraham was so afraid he was willing to make Pharaoh believe that Sarah was his sister instead of his wife. Sarah was so beautiful he was just sure that Pharaoh would kill him to have her as his wife. When God got Pharaoh straightened out about whose wife she was Pharaoh backed off, rebuked Abraham and sent him on his way with Sarah and all of Abraham’s stuff. Did that fix the problem? No! Abraham tried the same thing with Abimelech. God had to get Abimelech straightened out and again Abraham was sent on his way with his wife and all of Abraham’s stuff and some of Abimelech’s stuff. Obviously, this father of the Jewish nation was dominated in the early part of his life by FEAR. Finally, he received the gift of faith, and the Word of God says of him "Abraham believed God, and it was credited it to him as righteousness.”
The Heritage of a phlegmatic is that you can go from operating in FEAR, to operating in faith just like Abraham did. Can you relate to Abraham?
After receiving this gift of faith from God, he was no longer dominated by FEAR, becoming the father of the Jewish people. As a phlegmatic you might want to talk to God about receiving your gift of faith.
The Phlegmatic when operating in LOVE
The phlegmatic is the rock of humanity the closest to being a balanced person calm, peaceful and stable; they don’t get caught up in the weakness of the other temperaments, they are a balance to the other three. Easy to get along with, flexible in any situation, low maintenance loves to read, loves people but is happy alone.
The Phlegmatic doesn’t call attention to their self and does what is expected of them.
The phlegmatic doesn’t seek leadership, but because of their even personality, they can rise to the occasion when called. Easy to work with, make great bosses, keep stress low and criticism to a minimum; thus productivity can be increased because of their constant even temperament. Easy to be around they fit in anywhere and agree with what others want to do.
They don’t want or need credit for accomplishments, but they enjoy an occasional “Atta boy” letting them know they are appreciated. They never want to upset others or cause problems.
They possess a fundamental pessimistic nature that does not depress him as it does a melancholy but keeps him realistic.
The phlegmatic is one who feels emotion but does not readily display what they feel. Perhaps the phlegmatic evaluate how much energy it would take, or it may be that this personality type would instead remain uninvolved.
They don’t explode in either anger or laughter. The fact remains, however, that the phlegmatic are apt to keep emotional responses well hidden.
The phlegmatic is an easy going, adaptable, all-purpose person. This personality is willing to mediate, compromise, and even become inadvisably permissive to avoid conflict. When peace is not possible the phlegmatic withdraws and emotionally shuts down often refusing any communication until some measure of peace is restored.
Phlegmatics are universal responders. Like the chameleon, the phlegmatic can be all things to all people. They adapt to whatever personality they happen to be with at the moment, and they provide a very calming influence. These personalities are best described as the world’s “natural tranquilizer.”
The Phlegmatic is non-combative. They will generally not take the time or energy to make decisions. They don’t care. Their thought is “Why even try when someone else wants to”. This temperament feels somewhat impaired in the decision-making process because of the energy that is required. They don’t labor over making the perfect decision, it’s not as important for them to be “right”, as to avoid conflict.
Even peace-loving phlegmatics enter relationships with their own set of problems. Most phlegmatics evaluate the demands of relationships by how much energy each request will take. This unconscious thought process is always present. The energy level of the phlegmatic seldom matches their desire to please that powerful and demanding choleric person.
The speed at which the phlegmatic moves or lack of it is a cause for constant irritation to the fast-moving temperament and will often cause the phlegmatic to be left behind. This slow movement coupled with a tendency to look at life or circumstances on the negative side cause the Choleric and the Melancholy’s blood to boil. The Choleric wants to see and hear the enthusiasm, and the Melancholy wants a response to the unspoken (but obvious need), but the phlegmatic can only think of reasons not to be involved or why they cannot possibly raise enough energy to help.
The phlegmatic is often a poor communicator. When they have virtually nothing to say, the relationship can become boring in a hurry. Add this quiet nature to a broad streak of laziness and the phlegmatic can drive the choleric workaholic or the sensitive Melancholy or the high and low extremes of the Sanguine up a wall of frustration.
How ironic that this person who thrives on rest marries someone who will not let anyone rest, and this great peace-lover often marries the most consistently volatile personality types of them all. Who can understand this need to marry the opposite temperament? Perhaps the most significant underlying problem area for the phlegmatic in marriage is the tendency to take advantage of the dutiful, responsible choleric mate. It becomes more comfortable and more natural to let the choleric have their way and avoid any conflict. Soon the phlegmatic will vegetate, they are not internally motivated, and someone has to get them in gear. Who better than that divine prodder, the hard working, hard driving choleric.
Noise is an irritant to the phlegmatic as well. This temperament has a low tolerance for any form of noise whether good or bad. From alarm clocks, loud music, noisy children or sleeping partner all sound the same to the quiet phlegmatic and loud voices can drive him/her to distraction.
The phlegmatic, like the sanguine, is an initiator of humor. This type of humor is dry and often subtle and comes in the form of what is known as “one Liners.” Their mood is heightened by the fact that this temperament changes the tone and facial expression very little when that one-liner comes. When the phlegmatic humor is clear of sarcasm, it can be one of the world’s more significant sources of laughter. Moreover, a great clean laugh is very healing!
The Phlegmatic peaceful personality has a way of stabilizing children. Little ones need routine in their lives, and the phlegmatic is a person who will thrive on that very thing. The phlegmatic does not like change. The easygoing quality of this temperament makes the phlegmatic a calm, accepting parent, who doesn’t get upset quickly and always seems to have time for the children."
When operating in Fear, the Phlegmatic is…
Uninvolved | Reluctant | Mentally Blank
Characteristic needs: peace and quiet
Personality need: Sense of value as a person
Anger is another name for Fear
The one exception to hidden emotion is in the area of Fear as it relates to conflict. Fear of conflict will often cause the phlegmatic to retreat emotionally or to run into overeating and substance abuse. So strong is the phlegmatic response to anger that many times they will go completely blank and will be unable to respond. It is as if the mind short-circuits and there ceases to be a thinking process of any kind. Because the phlegmatic doesn't express emotions, this temperament can come across as a very bland or dull personality.
Phlegmatic have no visible expression of anger. You won't see a look of anger or rage. There won't be objects thrown or even a few well-chosen words of defense when the phlegmatic is wronged, for this temperament is the most underdeveloped in the area of anger and confrontation.
The phlegmatic will do anything to avoid anyone's anger, including disappearing or shading the truth. God's attributes are easily accepted by the phlegmatic except for one; God is absolute truth. God demands honesty in His children, and this is a problem for the phlegmatic who will stretch the truth to avoid conflict. There is nothing more devastating to this peaceful temperament as someone's rage; This is a constant battle in the area of anger and confrontation. The phlegmatic goes wholly blank and literally can think of nothing to say. The lack of enthusiasm or answers to direct questions like "I don't know," often drives the other temperaments to distraction. Sadly, today's phlegmatic like Abraham would rather outright lie than fight. Anger that desires communication is wasted on the phlegmatic.
Because they don't like to be told what to do, to avoid conflict, a Phlegmatic will blame everyone else for their troubles. It is not their fault if they get caught in a lie or stealing. They want what you have, and they deserve it, "everything should be free for them."
Unlike the choleric who responds to hurt or sadness with anger, the phlegmatic response to situations that call for violence with hurt or sadness. When the phlegmatic should be angry, tears will often come instead. The phlegmatic will then become mad only at themselves for not being able to get angry.
The one area of anger expression for the phlegmatic that others might see is that of sarcasm. In Fear, this temperament has humor that often comes across as being very sarcastic one-liners. What an appropriate cloak for passive anger management! In sarcasm, there is only one person who knows exactly how the statement was meant. Generally, what was spoken could be taken in many ways. Just the speaker knows for sure what was intended. Now, in their quiet way, the phlegmatic is in control and is expressing anger in the only way acceptable to them. It is a subtle but lethal display of anger (Fear) when taken to extremes and can be very hurtful and humiliating to the other temperaments. Sarcastic humor has a way of making a fool of someone, and you can be sure it isn't the phlegmatic. How sad, the damage that can be done just because this temperament won't face conflict honestly and openly.
It is not uncommon for this person to turn an injustice or hurt into passive-aggressive anger. The motto of the passive aggressive is "I don't get angry; I get even."
Hint: You don't want to turn anyone's anger into passive aggressive anger because you never see passive-aggressive anger coming until you feel the knife in your back.
HINT: how to help: Try giving the phlegmatic love breaks when you see them getting afraid. Say something like "do you just need some time to think about this"? Alternatively, "can we just pray about this"? Whatever you say or do it should be done gently, smile, and speak quietly to the phlegmatic and in a low, soothing tone.
Remember; the phlegmatic, like the sanguine, is an initiator of humor. This type of humor is dry and often subtle and comes in the form of what is known as "one Liners." (Look for the one-liner and don't miss this as a possible peace sign.) It may be only temporary, but it may be a pathway to avoid the anger of the phlegmatic (which is usually) a passive-aggressive anger management style. You don't know passive aggressive anger is there, but if you drive it underground, it will bite you and the person who delivers it. The humor is heightened by the fact that this temperament changes the tone and facial expression very little when that one-liner comes. When operating in LOVE, the phlegmatic humor is void of cynical sarcasm, making it arguably one of the world's more significant sources of laughter. Good clean laughter is very healing!
PARENTING YOUR PHLEGMATIC CHILD
Obvious needs: peace and quiet
Greatest underlining need: Sense of value as a person
The Phlegmatic peaceful personality has a way of stabilizing children. There are, however, certain drawbacks for the phlegmatic parent just as there are with the other three temperaments. The phlegmatic tends to be a permissive parent to avoid conflict. Duty and responsibility are not words in the phlegmatic vocabulary, and they often do that which feels right as opposed to that which life demands. Since the phlegmatic does not like to be told what to do, the pressures of duty and responsibility don't work well with them. These things are most easily left to one born to the choleric whom the phlegmatic usually marry.
Children of a phlegmatic often see this parent as both lazy and unwilling to defend them in conflict. Because of this slowness or laziness, the children may witness parental strife brought about by a lack of organization in caring for both home and children. Although the phlegmatic can accomplish these tasks, we must remember that this personality evaluates almost everything in subconscious terms of how much energy it will take, up to and including the raising of children. Unfortunately, this parent can often be found in front of the television doing what comes naturally, watching!
HELP FOR YOUR PHLEGMATIC CHILD
"Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it" Proverbs 22:6 (AMP)
Understanding each individual personality type is vital to understanding your child's needs. Are all children created the same? If your answer to that question is "yes," all of our children were treated and raised the same way, you only raised only one child. It concerns me that parents feel this attitude is the fair and a correct one for raising more than one child. What a tragedy, for if the words of this Proverb are valid, then each child has a particular "bend" which make him or her different from every other child in the family. This unique being would require a special understanding to draw each one to their most significant potential for living an understanding the Abundant life. We, as parents have an obligation and duty before God to discern the way of each child and endeavor to maximize the strengths and diminish their weaknesses in the most loving way possible. With an understanding of the temperaments, we have tools readily available.
"The best thing you can spend on your child is time." Children come into this world with two essential Love needs, touch, and attention. A very young child can only grasp Love in two ways: one is touching, hugs, kisses, and holding, the other is attention looking the child in the eyes and listening to the child's thoughts and feelings, understanding parents that will take the time to know their children are the best parents. There are other forms of expressing Love, but they do not compute as well to a very young child.
The child's attachment styles (HOW THEY LABEL THEIR INTERNAL WORLD) and their Basic Belief System (How they evaluate events, think, feel, and respond to those events) develop as they grow. Most thinking is that both the Basic Belief System and the Attachment Styles are about 80% formed in the child by the time they are six years old. Fearful events or exposure to Positive, loving events can continually reshape the attachments styles and Basic Belief System throughout our life. Accepting the teachings of the Bible has the most positive effect on the individual. A child without physical touch and genuine communication with a parent or parents will grow up with a deep an unfulfilled longing for Love.
Beyond this universal need, each child has a personality need. Understanding the temperaments' gives us a unique grasp of the particular "way" or the "needs" of each child. Continue to go back through the personalities and study their strength when operating in Love and weakness when operating in Fear. This will help us deal with some trouble areas for each child's personality and suggest some tools for dealing when them. Remember that the opposite of Love is not hate, it is Fear. 2 Tim 1:7
Your easy going phlegmatic child is seldom a problem
The phlegmatic child seems to entertain themselves so easily. It takes little to make this child happy, and the child seems to require minimal care and attention. Of all infants, this one is indeed the easiest to be taken care of and calmest. As if that weren't enough, this little one is usually happy and agreeable, while finding a few things more important than eating and sleeping. Infancy, however, doesn't last forever, and childhood brings an added dimension to this quiet peace-lover. As your phlegmatic child begins to grow, you may notice that the child seems to be watching the world go by, that's because watching requires far less energy than getting involved. Because virtually everything is subconsciously evaluated in term of how much energy it will require, this child finds few activities worthwhile. There is, however, one exception, which revolutionized the phlegmatic child's life- the TV. What more fabulous gift could mankind provide than that which would allow one to sit or lie down and do nothing but watch! That is phlegmatic heaven and a breeding ground for laziness. The phlegmatic child is not an openly rebellious one but is known to possess a quiet will of iron. This child may smile and agree to do whatever you ask without ever having any intention of complying with your request, and may even lie to avoid conflict or contention. While your phlegmatic child is a good listener and peacemaker, the phlegmatic indecisiveness and lack of motivation, along with chronic sarcasm, can paralyze them with procrastination and inactivity. This child, of all the temperaments, has the least natural imagination. Begin early in childhood to read to this little one and to stimulate the imagination through games of make-believe. Seek to involve this child in sports, tumbling, or dancing to encourage physical activity.
When the parent of a phlegmatic child seeks to eliminate the problem of lying, they must deal with the root problem, which is not the lie itself, but Fear of conflict. Because of paralyzing Fear, the child will say anything the parent wants to hear, and that isn't always the truth. Conflict means anger to this child. The parent should first control their anger and then face the child with reason. Once the phlegmatic is taught to deal with conflict in a healthy way, the need for lying disappear.
Begin at a very early age to present simple choices to the phlegmatic child. Help the child decide on their own and don't hesitate to overreact with joy at each decision.
Remember: that the phlegmatic problem with procrastination is based not just in inactivity but indecisiveness as well. The decision-making process is non-existent in this temperament and must be taught, lovingly, and patiently with much affirmation along the way. Because a Phlegmatic child is not motivated from within, the previously mentioned process is even more critical. Finding the natural bend or creative direction of the child will equip you to drive your child's energy.
Remember: Your phlegmatic child is driven by a need for peace and can become physically ill in the face of conflict or contention. When forced to deal with another's anger, the phlegmatic loses all thought processes and goes mentally blank. This child has a deep need to feel accepted. Value your phlegmatic child and say so often!
Most phlegmatic feel taken advantage of because of their easygoing personalities. They have a great need to feel valued as a person. The more powerful temperaments like the choleric and melancholy tend to steam-roll the adaptable phlegmatic and then display a lack of respect as they pass. The quiet, gentle phlegmatic easily blends into the background and longs to feel valued for their unsung contributions to life. The phlegmatic seems to be quietly saying, "Hey, I'm alive, too! "
The phlegmatic wrestles with the concept of servanthood because of inherent laziness. Since the phlegmatic prefers to remain uninvolved and is continuously evaluating in terms of energy expended. Servanthood is not something that would come easy or natural to this temperament.
God's attributes are readily accepted by the phlegmatic except for one, God as absolute truth. In turn, God demands honesty in His children, and this presents a problem to the phlegmatic who will color the facts to avoid any form of conflict. There are constant battles for the phlegmatic in the arena of anger and confrontation of any kind. Sadly, enough, today's phlegmatic, like Abraham, would rather outright lie than fight."
Distorted Spiritual needs and Responses
1. Laziness causes the phlegmatic to shirk responsibilities even to God. The phlegmatic has such a need
for the peace of God that they often translate this need into total inactivity. It is not uncommon for the
phlegmatic to "wait on God" to the exclusion of any self-motivation what so ever.
2. The phlegmatic tends to look down on many in the body of Christ because of a natural leaning toward
self-righteousness. Coupled with the lack that the phlegmatic is a responder to friendliness rather than
an initiator, can cause the phlegmatic to seem unapproachable.
3. Many phlegmatic tend to use belief in the sovereignty of God as an excuse for not taking responsibility
for their action or lack of them.
INBORN ABILITIES The inherent abilities of the phlegmatic are often found in the fields of Administration and Giving.