Coping with Anger

An important principle for Cancer to remember is this: Anger is a reaction. When we feel angry, it is because something in our background or personal value system has been challenged. That something tells us we ought to react by being angry. But anger, like love, is a choice, a choice we make on the basis of our subconscious values and attitudes. Thus, we can choose to change it by changing the values that lead us to feel it.

One of the things that makes the Cancer Woman angriest is to be ignored. She may be moody or retiring, but she needs large doses of recognition. She gets angry when it is not forthcoming. The Cancer Woman must learn to ask for what she needs. It is the surest way for her to get what she needs, and an excellent way to avoid situations that predictably make her angry.

Another thing that makes her angry is when someone she has loved, protected, and perhaps smothered decides to become independent. This often strikes terror into the Cancer heart. The Cancer Woman likes to be not only needed but indispensable—that is to say, to be in control. She must learn to overcome the insecurity that creates this grasping, to let go. (For hints on dealing with insecurity, see "Cancer Relationships." For letting go, see the Color Meditation technique in "Capricorn Relationships.")

The Cancer Woman is often angered by injustice to young ones. Basically compassionate, she hates cruelty in any form. She can express her anger constructively on a personal level by helping to change those who take their anger out on children. On a societal level, she can work for legislation that protects children (for example, child-abuse laws) or help to establish halfway or crisis homes for needy children. She can also be an excellent educator and may feel useful in a teaching or guidance position.

She is angered by being pushed, exploited, or taken for granted, but she seldom comes right out and says it. She needs to be more straightforward and honest about her anger. Much of her anger would be dissipated if she were to break her pattern by open communication. Often, people simply don't know what makes her angry and when.

Cancer, the following practical tips may help you to cope constructively with anger.

1. Identify your anger. There are many signs you can watch for: body language linked to your inner feeling state; feelings of stress; your verbal expressions, tantrums, and other clear clues (you may have a favorite phrase that will alert you); a common-sense evaluation of your life right now; mirroring—others' reactions will tell you a lot about how you are feeling. They read the subtle clues you telegraph.

2. Identify the type of anger. Anger has different roots and may be: relating to a specific situation such as a job; related to your family; caused by past hurts that have nothing to do with the present; free-floating; irrational, impossible to pin down—consult a counselor if this is the case.

3. Decide what you can do to cope. Remember that you are not helpless and can: learn a mode of communication that avoids putting you and others on the defensive; work it out through physical channels; discuss it with a therapist; work with alternative or metaphysical methods to realign energy.

4. Take positive steps to defuse anger. Remember to: remain aware of the values by which you judge situations, and be ready to change those that cause unnecessary anger; have a sense of humor; practice detachment; practice a positive outlook; ask for what you need; cry, relax, get things out of your system without self-destructiveness; resolve to remove as many irritants or angry-making items from your life as possible; decide how.

Remember this: there is always a possibility that you want to hang on to your anger. If this is true, know it. Accept it for now, but give yourself latitude to change it later. (For specific communication skills, see "Scorpio Anger" and "Libra Anger." For more help on value systems, see the chapter on Virgo Woman.)

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