It’s possible they might react harmfully to certain triggers.
We all have our hot buttons, and some people are particularly good at pushing them in others, striking a nerve they know will hurt. Though no one is inherently predetermined to have this trait based on when they were born, astrologers believe there might be some zodiac signs most likely to be abusive or emotionally manipulative.
Emotional manipulation is all about controlling other people. The manipulator often feels insecure about themselves or unsure of the other person's love and support, so they react by trying to bring the other person down. Common emotionally abusive tactics include showing scorn, shaming, criticizing, belittling, withholding affection, and shutting out.
Some zodiac signs are more likely to be prone to emotional manipulation and hurting people's feelings. However, that doesn't mean everyone born under them is a potential abuser — or that the other signs won’t show signs of manipulation, either. "It is important to keep in mind that all signs are capable of being emotionally abusive at times, depending on planetary transits to one's personal birth chart," astrologer Lisa Barretta, author of Conscious Ink, tells Romper. "A softer rising sign may very well temper a sign who has a more disruptive nature."
Astrologers believe it is possible certain zodiac signs will react a certain harmful way to certain events or triggers, but that by no means implies that these signs are hard-wired for emotional abuse. “There are many astrological factors that contribute to a person’s behavior (not to mention non-astrological factors, too) and like everything else, our behavior should be viewed as more than black and white,” Erin River Sunday, lead astrologer at Birthdate Co., tells Romper. “We all experience a multitude of emotions and feelings in any given week — and often, in any given day! That said, there are a few astrological signs that can find themselves in hot water when it comes to matters of the heart, simply because it’s often what they’re closest to — and therefore don’t have as much perspective on.”
Simply based on personality leanings, the following four zodiac signs may be slightly more prone to emotional abuse, according to the experts. By no means does this excuse abusive behavior, though. If you believe someone in your life is abusing you emotionally, please seek professional help or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).
Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Virgo's detail-oriented and perfectionist nature can make them wonderful workers and organizers, but it can also make them difficult to deal with on a personal level, leading them to be potentially among the most hurtful zodiac signs. “Virgos are ruled by Mercury, which is all about communication,” Sunday explains. “While the Virgo often offers advice believing they’re being helpful, it might be received as critical or perfectionistic.”
Those perfectionist-leaning viewpoints can certainly be used for the worse if they are in a bad mood. "When they are in one of their hypercritical moods, they will pick on you and freely point out all of your shortcomings," warns Barretta. Having a Virgo boss, for example, can be challenging: As a sign ruled by the dark side of Mercury, Virgos can be "tough taskmasters who find it hard to relax,” as Barretta says.
Punctuality is also often important to the Virgin-born, so expect an earful if you show up late to brunch with them. You may also find yourself walking on eggshells when it comes to conversations. "Careful what you say to a Virgo," says Barretta. "They can be overly sensitive, and even things said in jest may rub a Virgo the wrong way."
Overall, given their detail-obsessed nature, Virgos can be tricky to deal with at times, even though they don’t mean to be. “The Virgo variety of love is colder than what many might expect or hope for, but it’s simply because they want to improve anyone and everything around them,” Sunday says. “Virgo people are wise to give themselves breaks and not always hold themselves to seemingly impossible standards, so those they love can be offered the same grace.”
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
Look up the profile of Scorpio on any astrology website, and you're guaranteed to see the word "intense." That pretty much says it all. "Don't even think about doing them wrong," cautions Barretta. "This sign will even the score when you least expect it."
Scorpios can unnerve you with their focused stares, Barretta adds, and they're masters at getting to the truth if they think you're trying to put something past them. As one of the four "fixed" signs, Scorpios won't give in easily or stop until they feel they've gotten justice. "Scorpio is ruled by Pluto and co-ruled by Mars," says Barretta. "This planetary combination creates the perfect storm for emotional bullying."
Moreover, having Pluto as a Scorpio’s ruling planet is quite significant in another way. “Scorpios are ruled by Pluto, once a planet, but since recategorized as a dwarf planet, known for its great power,” Sunday says. “It seems to be no coincidence that it should be relegated as something ‘less than’ the other planets, as it's known to be a sign that’s very vindictive.”
That being said, Sunday adds that Scorpios rarely, if ever, lash out for no reason. “Like their symbol, the Scorpion, they strike when they’re afraid they’re going to be hurt,” she says. “To them, emotions can feel like a battlefield, sharpening a ‘kill or be killed’ mentality. Scorpios must remember that if you love something, you should let it go, because control might breed power ... but it also builds deep resentment.”
Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
As a sign governed by boundary-loving Saturn, Capricorn lives by rules: "usually Capricorn's rules," explains Barretta, "and this sign takes great pleasure in 'teaching you a lesson' if you wrong them."
Unlike Scorpio, though, the Goat isn't an explosive revenge-seeker; they might prefer quieter ways of hurting you. As in very quiet and very swift. “Capricorns are ruled by Saturn, a planet with a harsh reputation related to all things maturity,” Sunday explains. “These people know that growth, stable growth that is built to last, takes time and can’t be rushed. And in today’s world, very few people have that kind of patience — funny enough, even Capricorns themselves!”
Capricorns will stop returning your texts, block you from their social media accounts, and erase your birthday from their calendar, all in the name of cutting you to the quick. And as one of the action-oriented cardinal signs, they'll do it immediately and without a word of explanation. "Capricorns can be emotionally cold and abusive," adds Barretta. "When they are upset with you, they will go out of their way to show you that you never mattered in the first place."
This all mostly stems from a Capricorn’s view of emotions. “Because they can be very concerned with outward appearances of success, emotionality is often seen as a weakness,” Sunday continues. “When they feel like they don’t have time to be sentimental, those who care about them can be left feeling unimportant. While the Capricorn will always strive to reach the top of the mountain, their greatest emotional maturity arrives when they bring those they love with them to the top.”
All in all, take these explanations as a piece of information to keep in mind, not a foolproof guide as to who will be emotionally hurtful and who will not. “Without self-awareness, these signs are prone to emotional manipulation, but any sign (and all signs) of the zodiac are likely to experience these behaviors at different times throughout their life,” Sunday says.
Lisa Barretta, astrologer and author of Conscious Ink
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