The Melancholy Temperament Predisposes A Person To Depression


The Melancholy – sometimes referred to as the “black” temperament because it is often tormented with black moods – inclines the individual to spend a great deal of time ruminating in their mind.  Dwelling on past hurts and failures.  Visualizing experiences of rejection and criticism.  Replaying messages of worthlessness and incompetence.  

And as they experience life in real-time, they see people, relationships, and circumstances through this jaded, glass-half-empty lens, assuming rejection and criticism, often in places where none may actually exist.  

This makes living in a world turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic a pretty challenging environment for this person to live and work.  Maybe not being allowed to return to work due to social distancing laws.  Or being at home all day, spending significantly more time with their spouse, children, and the worries of things that seem out of control.  Or feeling less-than-competent by being kept away from those responsibilities where they have the greatest competence level.  For the Melancholy, this can all become pretty overwhelming.

Why Would God Have Created The Melancholy Temperament?

silhouette of a man standing in front of lake as sun has set Before sin introduced the fallen nature into all of humanity, every temperament was made “perfect”, possessing only characteristics that would bring glory to God and meaning to human relationships.  Sin initiated a tension between trusting God for our needs and seeking to fulfill those needs through what life in this fallen world has to offer. 

The body of Christ – made up of all God’s people, each with a unique temperament combination – has a specific role for every one of us to fulfill.  The God-given nature created within the Melancholy temperament was knit together with the following strengths:

  • Even though this person may seem to be very quiet and exclusive, relationships with family and a few close friends are of great importance to them and provide a solace from the world.
  • They are capable of showing great love, in their own way, by being dependable and responsible, not necessarily by showing affection or sharing deep feelings.
  • This person is typically very private and serious, with the tendency to identify with the somber, more pessimistic aspects of life.  
  • Because of having high intellectual and analytical energies, they can see the end results of a situation before moving forward.  
  • They are very creative and innovative, able to envision something from nothing.  
  • Melancholies tend to be perfectionists and set very high standards for themselves.  
  • They require truth, order, reliability, and dependability from others, and strive to live their lives by these standards.  
  • They are self-motivated, highly reliable, and prefer to function independently.  
  • This person is very loyal, and if they make a promise, they will strive to keep that promise, no matter what.
  • They are self-sacrificing for those they care deeply about.
  • They have deep, tender feelings, and are very empathetic with others who are hurting, marginalized, or disadvantaged.

Unmet Temperament Needs Cause The Melancholy To Experience Their Weaknesses

The Melancholy will experience enormous stress and internal conflict when the needs that allow the above-listed temperament strengths to emerge are not met.  The societal changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have created a world that falls very short in meeting the inborn temperament needs of the Melancholy. 

Home is a place of solace for a person with the Melancholy temperament.  But during the pandemic, home has become a place of disorder, children home all day every day, and the typical patterns of life now nonexistent.  The Melancholy will become very stressed in this environment, and may become angry, critical, and emotionally disengaged from the stressful environment.

Melancholies tend to be strong minded people who believe they have come to know what is right and wrong, truth and not truth, and so on.  So, when leaders at any level are making decisions – especially if negatively imposed on the Melancholy – this individual may become very judgmental and feel that those in leadership are not competent and are disrespectful.

God Provides Spiritual Solutions To Guide Us Through Challenging Life Situations

When I was a child attending First Christian Church with my Grandma Ralston, there was an old hymn I still remember singing.  The words were, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full into His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in light of His glory and grace.”  Although God does not promise a pain-free life on this earth, He does give Christians the assurance that by fixing our eyes on Jesus, we will see beyond this messy, fallen world into the heart of our loving, ever-present heavenly Father.  

God created mankind with a body, soul, and spirit.  As human beings, we often look at life from a physical perspective, then seek spiritual solutions to what we cannot solve through our own mind, will, or emotions (our soul).  Conversely, God intended that we experience life first through spiritual truths, principles, precepts, and promises found in His word, then navigate our journey on this earth through that backdrop.

To a person who has been blessed to have the Melancholy temperament, seeing life through spiritual lenses will provide the competence, truth, order, and understanding that the Melancholy nature yearns for.  God’s word provides those answers.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”  (Isaiah 26:3)

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  (Romans 12:2)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  (Proverbs 3:5)

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  (Colossians 3:2)

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 10:5)


Soul health and spiritual maturity cannot be separated.  Our counselors are ordained Christian ministers as well as certified and licensed Christian counselors.  We are able to help you experience freedom from shame, anxiety, depression, or marriage / relationship conflict with methods that are purely Christ-centered.  Please click on this link to learn much more about how our DEPRESSION COUNSELING can help you become a more authentic follower of Christ, and help you find freedom from identity dependence.

Life Training offers convenient sessions at our office in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime.  Our non-profit counseling practice has an outstanding track record for over a decade helping men and women, individuals and couples who are ready to move beyond anxiety, depression, and conflicts in marriage or other relationships find hope and healing in their lives.  Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at

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