Personalities and the Single Mom

personality predicaments and the four colors in puzzle pieces

A story by Virginia “Ginny” Gilbertsen           

I have a Popular Sanguine-Powerful Choleric personality which means that  I love to play, have fun, make you laugh, and gives lots of hugs!  If there is fun to be had, I am there!  But, when the fun is gone, I either crash or go into work mode.  At 26, I got married in June, bought my first house in July, had my first baby in February and buried my first husband in November.  The Popular Sanguine crashed and the Powerful Choleric took over. 

My son, Dennis, was 10 months old when my husband passed away.  Being Popular Sanguine and knowing how much I wanted to be approved by others, my Powerful Choleric kicked in.  I went to work three days after we buried my husband.  I cried all the way there and I cried all the way home, but while I was at work, I worked.  When I was at home, I crashed.  In pure Sanguine mode, I lay on the floor by my baby each night and played with him.  But my heart was broken.

As Dennis got older, I focused on being the  BEST parent.  My Peaceful Phlegmatic mother and Choleric-Melancholy father didn’t take me out of the house much. So, this little Sanguine sat in her room all day.  This was not going to happen to my son!   Each Saturday morning just as I got out of bed, I would load the bike into the back of the truck, drive to our destination, put Dennis in the child seat and take off!  One year, we went on a three week vacation that spanned from St. Louis, Missouri to Disneyworld, California….and I drove!

I began to notice (it took awhile because being Popular Sanguine I was too busy bouncing everywhere)  my son just didn’t seem happy!   So I took him more places and the more I took him places, the more unhappy he seemed to be.  The child seemed to be happy at home…YUCK!  Then, I met Kathryn Robbins of Personality Principals, LLC ( and the mystery was unlocked as she taught me about the personalities.  I mainly soaked in the “emotional needs” information helping me to realize that I was driving my son crazy!  As a Peaceful Phlegmatic this little guy needed some peace.  I began leaving him at home because as a Sanguine, I just want people to be happy!  This worked for many years.  Until, yes, the teens!  Wow, Peaceful Phlegmatics on hormones don’t work the same.  We began having many problems.  As a Peaceful fighting learning disabilities and the school system was too much!  I was so devastated. Where was the acceptance in this?  Why couldn’t I be more the Perfect Melancholy and get these details straight?  Or, why couldn’t I be more Peaceful and relax?  My son was struggling and of all things, my occupation was: special education teacher!  I clung to the scripture in Psalms that says, “We are fearfully and wonderfully made.” I remembered all of the promises in the Bible about the orphans and the widows, and got down on my knees.

 Now, as a Powerful Choleric, letting go was not  easy and I still struggle.  Life was just not fun!  I had to let go and find my fun in order to survive.  The end of the chapter isn’t written, but I can tell you that this Popular Sanguine is having fun living her life and loving her son. And this Powerful Choleric is learning to change the things she can and accept the things she can’t.  But mostly, my heart believes in God.

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