bottled up anger

Mars, the Warrior, transits Cancer- the sign tied to emotions, nurturing, safety, family, memory and women- from August 3-September 17.

The other night I told my husband that I hope he can handle me in the long term because I’m only going to get awnrier, harder to handle, and even more loud-mouthed over time (he replied that he didn’t doubt it). My Moon is in Aries (so is my Mars). I need to let off steam. As an aside, one way you will always know I am comfortable with you is that I will start cursing like a sailor around you (no, not at you). I realize this may be off-putting, especially if you are a new client and you’re wondering what to expect from me, The Astrologer. Know that, if I feel comfortable enough to use the f** word within the first fifteen minutes of talking,  you are someone I could love. That’s Moon in Aries.

Mars’ transit through Cancer has got me thinking again about women and anger. As women, how many of us have really learned that anger, when expressed appropriately, is healthy? From our mothers? Really? Self-assertion and emotional health do go hand in hand. Research says that during a ten- year research study, women who bottled up their feelings during fights were 4x more likely to die than women who spoke up. In addition to death, unexpressed anger leads to depression, eating disorders.  And the way you address conflict, in marriage, is as big a risk factor on disease as whether you smoke or have high cholesterol.

Just as some of us receive cast-off clothes from our siblings growing up, astrologically many of us inherit a trunk of traits from our lineage. Historical patterns repeat, and the contracts we have with our parents are reflected in our birth chart. My mother’s Mars was in Libra conjunct Neptune in the Eleventh House. She had a difficult time with the whole idea of directly asking for what she wanted, but held the unconscious assumption that everyone else would go her way. We often did. It was just too exhausting to stand up for your self, ask for what you want, when it felt as though talking into an empty well. You just never really experienced your self-stand land on solid ground. For her, anyone’s anger involved tears, and entering the role of Victim (Why are you doing this to me?) or the Martyr (I am suffering already, and now this?).

In the Mars/Neptune and Pisces archetype, by not directly asking for what you want you get exactly what you don’t want, then sulk around about it. To become identified with “a lost cause” (in my mother’s instance, the perceived failings and shortcomings of her partner) you also give away your power of choice. Carolyn Myss says: a Martyr is a person who has learned to utilize a combination of service and suffering for others as the primary means of controlling and manipulating her environment. I see this archetype in her mother, too (who has retrograde Mars in Pisces in the Sixth House). Luckily, I was born with a Mars in Aries square Sun and oppose Pluto – though lucky is hardly the right word. The buck had to stop somewhere.

For many women our fighting style truly reveals itself in long term intimate relationship. When Uranus in Aries hovered over my Mars, I realized how healing it was for me to be able to let off steam & communicate my awnry displeasure.  Sometimes unpredictably, shockingly. In my relationship my sweetie and I have learned  to follow fair fighting rules. For example, we don’t curse. But our styles for facing conflict are dramatically different. I’m quick and tough-acting. Once I say my piece, within five minutes, I’m back to hugging and squeezing. It takes him time. Lots of time.  Sometimes way too much time for my impatient Aries Mars who just wants him to get over it. He’s got tender Mars in Cancer, and between us that makes a square, an astrological aspect of either perpetual tension, or, grist for ongoing work on how we each stand up for our selves, and work with our irritation, annoyance and anger with each other.  This has forced us to become more conscious about how easy it is to wound each other, and how tender and sensitive we both are.

Expressing hot, feisty, impulsive feelings anger is uncomfortable for anyone, man or woman. We all have a Mars, and conflict is as much a part of life as love. Yes there may be gender differences in the way we handle and physically experience conflict. According to research (below), during a marital argument it was the battle for control that causes serious health problems for men, and for women, men’s hostility and lack of warmth. Whether you’re battling for universal dominion (good luck), or wanting your partner to be all warm, fuzzy and empathic during high heat moments (good luck), if you find yourself all red alert and reactive in your relationship, put it to good use: focus on optimizing the highest expression of your natal Mars.

Here’s that article: How To Make a Difference in Your Marriage and Your Health