As Artisans grow up, they think that one day they will grow out of their desire to mess around and eventually become responsible and respectable.
At Keirsey, one of the areas we have been researching for several decades is madness. Dr. Keirsey often posed the question, “Why do people go insane, crazy, sick, mad, or bonkers? And does it manifest differently based on one’s temperament?” In other words, what causes someone to go crazy, and do we go crazy in different ways? In this article, we’re going to address these two questions. And we’re going to use dating as the backdrop to provide some examples on how Keirsey’s theory of madness plays out.
So, the first question is, “Why do people go crazy?” In short, we believe that people go crazy when they feel worthless. Our research indicates that when an individual feels worthless, every attempt is made by that individual to cover up their worthlessness. Why the cover up? When you think about what happens to worthless things, it makes sense to ensure that we are never found out to be worthless. After all, when something is worthless to us, what do we do with it? We abandon it. It gets thrown out. We desert those things which have no value to us. Anything that is worthless gets tossed or set aside. The thought of personally being abandoned, thrown out, deserted, tossed, or set aside is something any of us would want to avoid at all costs.
So, what are the options? Well, if we can cover up our worthlessness, then we protect ourselves from being abandoned. When you’re at your lowest, the easiest solution is to cause a distraction, which diverts attention away from our worthlessness. Instead of remaining worthless, we would rather be insane, crazy, sick, mad, or bonkers—because a person in this state is paid attention to, whereas a worthless person is abandoned. A person who is crazy gets cared for, while a person who is worthless is discarded. The truth is, we all have our crazy moments. And based on which of the four temperaments we are talking about, we go crazy in different ways.
So, why dating to illustrate how craziness plays out? Falling in love is one of the most powerful forces in life. There’s a reason why it’s often called being “madly” or “insanely” in love. When you’re in love, your heart is on the line. You open yourself up for your heart to be embraced like never before. And at the same time you make yourself vulnerable to be hurt deeper than ever. With love, there is risk. It’s you and the other, and it is a statement to another that you matter to each other. In your eyes, your beloved matters more than anyone else on the planet. And in their eyes, you are the one in all of eternity that they’ve chosen. In essence, both of you have great value, are of utmost importance, and have meaning and worth to each other. And what we have found is that when love is present, whether it be self love, love from another, or love from the divine, it allows a person to thrive. When there is love, all is wonderful, but when love is withdrawn, our worth is threatened, and that’s when all of insanity comes out. Let’s take a look at what happens to the Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rational when they go crazy.`
Of the four temperaments, Artisans experience the five senses far more powerfully than the others. Seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling—are taken to a whole new level with these sensation seekers. Artisans are the most stimulated; and are the most stimulating in relationships. Therefore, when all is good, being in love with an Artisan can be utterly intoxicating. The opposite is true, however, when an Artisan feels like they are down in the dumps.
When they have lost love, they go crazy by diving straight into their impulses. This is due to the fact that they operate by pain and pleasure. So when there is pain, they do everything they can to get rid of the feeling. When painful feelings of worthlessness are looming, their “stand out” personalities start to “act out”—and these sensation seekers run to get their fix. In other words, when they feel about to be abandoned, they get themselves into trouble, seeking danger, becoming reckless, to follow their lustful impulses. This draws attention, while replacing their pain with pleasure. It is a cry to be noticed and valued once more. They attempt to quickly numb the pain, and so they feed their carnal appetites to do so. As they seek to draw attention, they make sure that what they do is big, bold, and bad. In their “normal” state, these rebels are already inclined to go against the grain, defying the establishment, acting with audacity. So when they feel horrible about themselves, all of this is taken to the extreme.
While Artisans would rather “stand out,” these conservative citizens seek to “fit in.” Guardians have the highest need to belong. It is important that they feel accepted by others. They measure their value by how much they are needed. In a relationship, they are extremely helpful, always wanting to be dependable and of service. So being in love for the Guardian is about being honorable, dutiful, and respectful to each other. Sizzling, sexy, steamy, wild adventures are not at the forefront of these honorable ladies and gentleman, but rather, one will find a person that is consistent and can be counted on. So the question is begging, “Can Guardians go crazy?” Well, the kind of craziness for them is not the “act out” kind of behavior, they move to withdrawal and depression.
Their feelings of worth are tied to their usefulness. When they are needed, and when they have something to offer they feel accepted. But, when they feel that they are useless, unreliable, and not respectable, they feel ashamed and feel as though they have become unacceptable. In fearing abandonment, they withdraw, which is ironic if you think about it. They don’t want to be abandoned, yet, they go and hide in depression, secretly hoping that someone will notice. This leads them to spiral downward, as they worry about whether anyone will notice that they are gone. They get depressed because they feel like they are “good for nothing,” fearing that others will permanently brand them as worthless.
Idealists have a unique and unusual way of interacting with reality. They prefer to live in ideality, where there is perfection, or at least where “their” perfection exists. Engaging the world for them is about believing that their ideals are manifesting in the outer world. It is about expressing their ideality in ways that will transform the outer world to match their inner world. Unlike the Guardians, their identity is not constructed by what they do. But, rather, what they do is an extension of who they are. Their aim is to believe into existence what they know in their hearts.
Being in love with an Idealist is a spiritual journey, where exchanges are not transactional, but are a communal expression of a soul-to-soul/heart-to-heart engagement. They see romance as intertwining into oneness; being inextricably integrated to be inseparable. So, when love is taken away, or anything else occurs in reality that conflicts with their ideality, they lose heart. Their beliefs are shattered, and their integrated identity feels disintegrated. Everything feels like it is falling apart. Since everything is all intertwined for the Idealist, feelings of worthlessness can be devastating. A small loss in reality is connected to the entire dream, so it feels like the whole sky is falling, when in reality it’s not the end of the world. This leads the Idealist to get hysterical. After all, from their perspective devastation is imminent. Hysteria kicks in, and they do everything they possibly can to hang on.
Unlike the Artisans, Guardians, or Idealists, Rationals don’t care to stand out, fit in, or express themselves. Rationals seek to transcend the past and the present, or even themselves. Their aim is to create a new world by solving problems which are preventing evolution and innovation. They live in the future, seeking to redefine reality, and alter its fateful path to a new and better one. They don’t believe in destiny or dreams as in the case of the Idealist, but rather, they believe that the world is maintained by incompetence, when it should be led on a trajectory where the human experience is always advancing.
They see romance as a partnership of equally capable individuals, coming together to conquer the world. By nature, they are pre-disposed to be obsessive, but when they experience feelings of worthlessness, they become ever bent on rectifying their situation. Their method of madness is to be obsessed with solving the problem. A Rationals way of experiencing worthlessness is evidenced in the form of self-doubt. When they feel incompetent, they shut out the world to solve their problem. It’s not a withdrawal like the Guardian, where despair comes after. It is a self-directed, deliberate move to be autonomous. They want to be left alone to figure out what went wrong, and when they’ve finally come up with the solution, they emerge back to engage and persuade. They sink into obsessions because they must tackle the challenge, to get everyone out of the mess.
Guardians make up most men and women on the planet. What are some misdynamics that Idealists, Artisans, and Rationals should know about when dating them?