We all have our hot buttons, and some people are particularly good at pushing them in others, striking a nerve that they know will hurt like crazy. Depending on when someone is born, they might be one of the most emotionally abusive zodiac signs, so if you have someone like this in your life, it's possible that they fall under one of these signs.
Emotional abuse is all about controlling other people, as Psychology Today explained. The abuser 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 emotional abuse tactics include showing scorn, shaming, criticizing, belittling, withholding affection, and shutting out.
Some zodiac signs are more skilled at these techniques than others because of their personalities. However, that doesn't mean that everyone born under them is a potential abuser — or that the other signs are always perfect angels, 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," explains astrologer Lisa Barretta, author of Conscious Ink. "A softer rising sign may very well temper a sign who has a more disruptive nature."
Barretta tells Romper that the following four zodiac signs are most likely to be emotionally abusive. 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: 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).
1. Cancer (Jun 21-Jul 22)
Although this sign is known for being nurturing and sensitive, they're also given to major mood swings. "They're ruled by the Moon, and as we know, the Moon goes through phases from dark to light," explains Barretta. "Cancers will snap at you without warning due to their ever-changing moods." The Crab-born also have very long memories, she adds, and during an argument, they're the ones who'll fling the way you hurt them back in 2010 right in your face. "They think nothing of holding a grudge," says Barretta, "and giving the silent treatment is their forte."
2. Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 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. "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 can be challenging: As a sign ruled by the dark side of Mercury, Virgos can be "tough taskmasters who find it hard to relax." (The Office's Michael Scott was definitely not a Virgo.) Punctuality is 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."
3. Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 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." Scorpions can unnerve you with their focused stares, she 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."
4. Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 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, the Goat isn't an explosive revenge-seeker; they prefer quieter ways of hurting you. As in very quiet. 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."