Relationship Help for People with Chronic Illness and Those Who Love Them
*How different personality types respond to crisis.
*The 5 love languages in connection to illness.
*How to avoid friction over the holidays.
*What to do about the people who just don’t get it.
Companion Bible Study books also available for groups or individuals.
Chronic Illness and Your Personality Type
How did you react when you found out you were officially unhealthy? Not unhealthy as in temporarily sick, but as in chronically I’ll-never-be-the-same, what-happened-to-my-life kind of unhealthy?
People react to crisis in different ways. Some jump into fix-it mode and immediately organize and start battling the problem. Others leave the scene and go do something random that has nothing to do with the crisis at hand. Some eat. Others cry. Some rage. Others shop. Some sit and stare at the TV. Others analyze.
And of course, since no one is officially in charge during the majority of crisis events, most of us end up getting frustrated at the way others are acting, or even the way we ourselves are acting.
Why do some of us start emotionally eating while our friends are attacking the problem? Why do some seem to ignore the problem altogether while their spouses are going on about the negative details so thoroughly it makes everyone else depressed?
Are we all slightly insane? Obsessive compulsive? Trying to make everyone around us miserable?
Well, I can’t speak for your particular family and friends on those questions, but in general, no, we aren’t acting the way we do because of some unnatural, subconsciously vindictive reason. On the contrary, most of us are just acting naturally according to the personalities God gave us.
Wow, you just went from being slightly insane to normal in three sentences. That’s got to make you feel good.
Each person is unique, as individual as a snowflake, only much more complex (and we don’t melt—way superior). Nevertheless, all our amazing complexities as humans have been narrowed down to four main personality types by someone much smarter than myself. Those types are titled Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic. People have different mixtures of these four types, but any given person usually has one or two that are dominate, and tends to follow a certain pattern of thought and behavior based on those dominant types.
See if you can find yourself: And by the way, every type has its strengths and weaknesses, so no deciding your type is great and everybody else’s is bad!
Sanguines—like to have fun. Sanguines are bubbly and fun-loving. They like to be the center of attention and tell stories, but tend to exaggerate and be disorganized.
Cholerics—like to have control. Cholerics are the ones who take charge, make quick decisions and like for things to be done the way they think is best. They make good leaders, but tend to be bossy and put tasks over people.
Melancholies—like to have things done right. Melancholies are smart, serious and sensitive. Most creative geniuses are melancholies with their attention to detail and deep creativity, but they lean toward perfectionism and depression.
Phlegmatics—like the easy way. Phlegmatics are easy-going, dry-humor, calm types. They love objectively solving problems and keeping peace, but have a hard time making decisions and have trouble being motivated.
Did you find yourself in one or two of those types? (If you want to study the personality types more in depth, the information in this chapter came from Florence Littauer’s book, Personalities in Power, used with permission.) I can’t tell you how much it helped me and my marriage to realize that my husband and I didn’t have to figure out whose reactions were right and whose were wrong. We were both acting according to the personalities we were given by God.
That’s not to say we’re excused to just act in whatever way comes naturally to us. Like I said, each type has its strengths and weaknesses, and each needs the tempering of the Holy Spirit to be balanced.
That being said, though, it was such a relief to find out that these strong emotional feelings I have in response to my health condition are totally normal for my personality type. I wasn’t falling off the deep end or losing my mind, and you aren’t either!
Let’s go more in depth on each of those four types, including how they tend to react to stress…