The study of the personality (temperaments)  goes all the way back to the  Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC).   Much of our personality is biological as we are born with a distinct set of mental characteristics.  According to science about 50% of our personality is based on genetic factors, the other 50% is a result of our environment.

According to Hippocrates  there are four basic types of personalities.   Many new personality theories were developed from this ancient concept, all using different names to define them yet very similar to the four basic types.

It should be noted that everyone has a little  of each of these four personality types within them.  Every person has a primary personality and a very strong secondary temperament.

  1. Choleric Personality Type

Different Names: Directive, Lion, ENTJ, Gold, Rabbit, Lucy

Strengths: Productive, fiery, straight forward, independent

Weakness: Inconsiderate, opinionated, proud, risky

Ideal work: Executive, Lawyer, Consultant, Engineer

   2.  Sanguine Personality Type

Different Names: Interactive, Otter, ESFP, Orange, Tigger, Snoopy

Strengths: Lively, generous, carefree, optimistic

Weakness: Prone to addiction, undependable, egocentric, exaggerates

Ideal work: physician, marketing, travel, actor

3.  Phlegmatic Personality Type

Different Names:  Supportive, Golden Retriever, INFP, Blue, Pooh, Charlie Brown

Strengths:   Loyal, deliberate, factual, flowing

Weakness: Spectator, critical, indecisive, stubborn

Ideal Job:   Teacher, nurse, psychologist, writer/editor

4.  Melancholic Personality Type

Different Names: Corrective, Beaver, ISTJ, Green, Eeyore, Linus

Strengths:  Idealistic, gifted, sensitive, accurate

Weakness: Avoidant, secretive, rigid, moody

Ideal Job:   Artist, accountant, social work, musician

As noted above, we each have a disposition.   Since biology cannot be separated from our experiences our individual psychological histories have patterns of action and reaction. We are our perceptions, we are programmed by our history to react with fear, anger, avoidance  and insecurity.   We set others up to react in the way that we want, assuming various egos states causing us to react as a parent, adult or child. Acting as parent we are superior and suggest inadequacy of others. Acting as a child we are inadequate and  in need of some support for others. Acting as an adult we are adequate in ourselves and relate to others as equal.

No one can cause your emotions, but only stimulate the emotions that are awaiting to be aroused. The person with a healthy personality is an actor not a reactor. By acting you don’t allow others to decide how you are going to react.   The healthy personality is his own person who does not bend to every wind which blows. She is not at the mercy of all the pettiness, meanness, anger and ignorance of others. The atmosphere does not transform her as much as she transforms the atmosphere.



Personality Disorders

Our perceptions, which are based on the environment we were raised in and  our personality type, cause our emotions and effect our behavior.  If we were raised in an environment of dysfunction, such as one with abuse or addiction, our personality develops defenses to protect ourselves from vulnerability and harm.  The scars and defenses we use to protect ourselves from vulnerability form patterns of action and reaction, these patterns eventually become so self –deceptive that we forfeit all sense of identity and integrity. We act “roles” wear masks,  and play games, we develop personality disorders.

For more about Personality Disorder:

Personality Disorders