The Melancholic Temperament:

Understand the Negatives

The melancholic temperament* is a very intriguing and multi-faceted disposition. This individual has much to offer others, but to be able to do so, he must be carefully guided and disciplined. His strengths must be cultivated and the weaknesses eliminated or neutralized.

Parents who wisely learn more about the melancholic temperament are able to rear their child to be the best he can be. It is time well-invested.

A review of the

positive tendencies might be in order.

The weaknesses of the typical melancholic personality are the following:

  • Tendency to sadness and melancholy--He has a propensity to magnify difficulties and lose confidence in himself. Exaggerated reserve and timidity are the result. In The 4 Temperaments, Father Conrad Hock explains, "He has a strong will coupled with talent and power, but no courage."

    Although this person loves deeply and empathizes with all who suffer, he finds it hard to reveal himself and his feelings. He desires and yearns for closeness but it is very hard for him. He has problems discussing ideas, feelings and so forth. This may lead to misunderstandings.

  • Inclined to be passive and inactive--Because he tends to be pessimistic, the melancholic hesitates to begin projects; "there might be too many problems." Without guidance, he fears and dreads suffering and self-denial because of the exertion necessary to deal with them.

  • Irresolute--The melancholic can easily become despondent and discouraged. He can be the "man with the missed opportunities." He hesitates to make decisions because there are too many considerations. He postpones projects, then they become even more time-consuming and onerous.

  • Slow in thinking and speech--He needs time to consider every angle and cannot be pressured. If he is asked to answer quickly and without preparation, the person may become flustered and frightened. Therefore, he may stutter, say the wrong thing, leave ideas unfinished. He may thoroughly bungle it.

    In his work, he is very careful and thorough...and slow. This may be mistaken for laziness. It is not!

  • Great reserve--Pride takes the form of tremendous fear of shame or humiliation. Although he really is naturally reserved, his modesty is compounded by exaggerated anxiety about the possibility of disgrace.

    He will even let others less talented be promoted ahead of him. Then he feels resentment that, if not checked, can become entrenched. In the future, he may grow suspicious of others because of incidents like this cause.

The parents of a child with the melancholic temperament have their work cut out. The youngster has so much potential, so much to offer and is so endearing.

Making the time and effort to gently guide and discipline him is completely worthwhile and rewarding. This is clear as he grows into adulthood and his thoughtful and kind ways blossom with amazing results.

The Melancholic Temperament: Thoughtful and Kind

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