Pluto & Emotional Blackmail

by | Sep 23, 2016 | Health, Pluto the Transformer, Scorpio | 2 comments


Venus is in Scorpio from 9/23/16-10/17/16. Pluto in Capricorn moves direct on September 26, 2016. 

During Pluto and Scorpio times, we’re more susceptible to noticing the subtext – what’s below the surface- of our everyday interactions, conversation and encounters with others, probably because it’s more imperative that we do so at this time. Pluto holds our worst nightmares- pain, trauma, abandonment, fears – based in past wounds we’ve incurred, and the defenses to feeling those. When our unconscious bubbles up into daily life, it’s so we can see what’s been hiding there, holding our life energy hostage.

Yet, there is no planet, besides Saturn, more keenly interested in staying in control and keeping its perceived survival threats at bay than Pluto. So here’s the Pluto conundrum: How do I soothe my hurt places and fears while staying in control and ensuring my survival? This is one of the more unsavory sides of Pluto…

Emotional blackmail is a very real Plutonic strategy. Emotional blackmail is when someone uses fear, obligation or guilt to attempt to control another. The acronym is F.O.G., for the way it obscures the truth of the situation and scrambles our thoughts. Ironically, it’s a misguided attempt to get something that’s often legitimate (support, reassurance, love, safety, etc.), from another. It’s just ruthless in its insensitivity to others’ needs and desires.  Small children are amazingly effective at emotional blackmail. The term itself was first used to describe a problematic way teachers tried to control a classroom of children (Wiki).

“The person who is acting in a controlling way often wants something from the other person that is legitimate to want. They may want to feel loved, safe, valuable, appreciated, supported, needed, etc. This is not the problem. The problem is often more a matter of how they are going about getting what they want…” – Emotional Blackmail, Wikipedia

The essence of the strategy is trying to get someone (you) to take responsibility for my pain, emotions or situation.

If you’re extremely sensitive to energy that’s an especially tricky request, as you’re particularly vulnerable because you feel other people’s feelings as yours. For instance, if you feel fear, I may feel that fear as mine and if I am not conscious of this will probably do everything in my power to help us both get rid of the fear. To that end, maybe I agree to do something you ask me to do that I don’t really want to agree to (and end up feeling manipulated). Maybe I take responsibility for your emotions, because I feel them as my own, thus allowing you to discharge your stuff onto me and not deal with your own feelings. Maybe I hear the undertone of blame and guilt in your voice, and that causes me to doubt myself, my own motives, confidence. That’s how easy it is to get roped into this dynamic.

If this sounds familiar, here are a few things I’ve learned over the years.

  1. Identify what’s yours and what’s mine. An incoming attempt at manipulation or emotional blackmail feels a combination of wrong, duplicitous, disrespectful and confusing. The quicker you notice this, the better. I do this energetically. When I feel another’s emotion, say, go into my heart chakra, I name the origin (“so and so’s fear”) so I don’t take it on as mine.
  2. Make the decision to not take their stuff on. Their emergency/emotion is not your problem, no matter how convincing they make their case. Keep returning to this decision, a many times as it takes for you to be clear in this knowing.
  3. Notice your role. If they’re triggering your compassion, your insecurity, your self-doubt, sense of over-responsibility, that’s yours to work with, BUT just notice it. It’s not something to spend all your time turning into a big problem you need to heal (unless it is a unhealthy pattern in your primary relationships, in which case — get professional help). After all, if they hadn’t pulled this strategy, you wouldn’t be experiencing this. Right now it’s your job to draw the line and stay in your own center.

My point with #3 is, just because you’re experiencing this with another doesn’t mean you are responsible for its occurrence.

And no matter how guilty, obligated, confused we feel in that moment, we always have a choice how to respond! We don’t have to take the bait, emotionally, energetically or materially — even if we promise something we didn’t mean to, we can go back and correct our self.

Some of us are apt to experience emotional blackmail more often because a) we first encountered this in our family of origin; we’re familiar and resonate with it b) we’re sensitive to energy and/or c) we’re healers. Healers, by design, are here to transmute energy. We are meant to notice all the nuances of what’s happening, so we can transmute it —without taking it on (the subject of future articles).

Those with strong Pluto and Scorpio in their natal charts are susceptible to this dynamic, and whether they are on the receiving or giving end depends on the rest of the chart, how sensitive or defended it appears, and how self-aware the person is.

In my experience, there are so many people who unconsciously use this strategy, so it’s best to have a game plan for when you encounter it. And there’s really no ultimate protection against feeling hurt or disrespected when someone does FOG on us. It can be painful to be treated insensitively, to feel used, inappropriately blamed, or even to be attempted to be manipulated. Even if you are able to see it all clearly, and not take it on, you will likely still have feelings about it. But know that whoever is using fear, obligation or guilt is actually in a lot of pain. There’s a lot of hurt inside there and (unless you’re their parent and they’re your kid) it’s not your responsibility!

Finally, if you are trying to control situations and people with your conditions and requirements, look underneath the behavior and voice your vulnerabilities and fears.  Maybe what you really want is another’s sympathy, affection, reassurance or understanding – all legitimate- but you cannot ever really and truly attain those things by strong-arming others into doing what you want them to do. Stop and reflect on what you really need. It’s time to stop reacting out of fear, and move towards self-love. It’s time to find a new way to finally get what you need.


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  1. linda

    Ugggggg! Yes. As my mother ages, badly, very badly she is becoming more draining. We have history…..I became emotionally responsible for her when I was 7 and my youngest sister was born. She is wickedly smart and I fall into the snare on occasion. Lately it is more than I can bear to be around her, so of course she is using her “big guns”….one medical emergency after another. I swear she can manipulate her blood pressure to ensure she ends up in the ER. Anyway, long whiny story short, I am aware most of the time that her wanting love and care is legit; having said that, she is mentally ill and has been for most of her life and I just plain don’t want to take care of her needs anymore at the expense of my own. My Reiki keeps me sane thank god.

  2. Katie

    I love this post about Pluto Jessica. I enjoy all your blogs.

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