To Work or Not to Work?
As we have done intensive case history studies of people who function in these extremes we have found that usually one of these is a learned response to the hurts of the past. We call these “masks of survival.” Either The Perfect child in order to seek parental attention put on a Popular’s mask of popularity or The Popular child, because of abuse or rejection, became depressed and put on The Perfect mask of pain. Many children who are brought up in difficult homes put on the Perfect mask of perfection.” If only I could be perfect daddy wouldn’t hurt me, mommy wouldn’t yell at me.” Whether it is from alcohol, drugs, rejection,or emotional abuse, or extreme religious legalism, these difficult homes breed masking of personality for the children. They don’t know how to fight the system, so they tend to become whatever will help them survive.
As adult they appear to be split personalities and don’t understand the extreme mood swings they suffer, to work or not to work…. Whether or not they are motivated to work. While The Powerful / Peaceful opposite natures do not have the same emotional strains, they do have the major conflict of to work or not to work. Peaceful wants to take it easy, and Powerful feels guilty when not producing. This question usually resolves itself by dividing life into two segments—working hard at the job and tuning out at home.
Many times a Powerful will give his all at work, and then either be too exhausted to lift a finger at home, or not feel the home front is important enough to deserve his efforts. A Peaceful may labor diligently on the job, where he may even seem Powerful because he is so motivated, and then relax completely at the end of the day.
If you seem to be in this blend, ask yourself whether you are a Powerful , playing low key at home, or a Peaceful really motivated to work.
If these questions don’t seem to bring satisfactory answers, perhaps you are wearing a mask of survival and don’t realize that some of your childhood pain is still affecting your adult life. The Powerful child who is brought up in a home where his parents argue and fight sees quickly that the best thing for him to do is cover up his desire for control and keep quiet. The Powerful child who is allowed no part of the family decision making as it regards his clothes, his room, his pet, his school subject, his career, and/or his choice of mate learns that he either has to fight for some control and be considered the bad child or he has to give up and accept authority until he can get out of the house. The Powerful child who is abused says to himself, “I’ll keep quiet about it now; but when I get out of here, no one will ever control me again.” Any one of these situations, or a combination, causes The Powerful child to put on The Peaceful mask. As an adult he swings in and out of control and submission and doesn’t understand why.
If you come out relatively even in either of these opposites, think about your feelings as a child and see if these explanation make sense to you. If you come out “a little bit of everything” there are several possibilities. You took the test wrong; you didn’t understand the words you are The Peaceful and have trouble making decisions; you are The Perfect and about to ascend; or you were so controlled, directed, or oppressed as a child that you can’t get a true grasp on who you really are.
Whatever way you come out on the personality profile, remember it is not the label but the understanding of your own personality strengths and weaknesses that is important.
Other factors that shape personality
Childhood experiences and parenting will cause differences. A Peaceful father may behave differently in raising a child than a Perfect one thereby causing the child to value different behaviors.
A person’s level of education and training may affect behavior as will a person’s level of physical health. A healthy Peaceful – Powerful may seem more outgoing and aggressive than a Powerful with health problems.
In certain individuals there may be parts of three temperament types blended together. While rare, it does happen and makes it more difficult for the person to get a clear picture of their type.
How to use temperament to your advantage
Get along with others – Learning how to spot the temperament of others is invaluable. It take practice but once you can spot a choleric you know not to try and be “chatty” with them. If you spot a phlegmatic you may understand why they seem quiet and reserved.
Work life – This is a key area of understanding temperament. There are so many people in life who are in jobs that do not match their temperament. A Popular – Peaceful may not make a good surgeon. A Powerful – Perfect probably wouldn’t be happy teaching kindergartners. Tests of temperament often include suggestions concerning career choices.