Keen Category: Love Advice
Renee and Michael came to my studio for a joint astrology counseling session. I wondered how we’d get on, with Mercury retrograde and all, but we were all aware of the energy and trying hard to combat it. And then, like a bad TV show, it devolved.
Eye rolling. Crossed arms. Bad juju body language. He said, she said. Yelling.
It spiraled out fast—and we only got the whole situation calmed down when Michael stormed out for some fresh air. I wasn’t happy that I hadn’t kept the session under control (I’m still learning too!), but Renee assured me it wasn’t my fault.
“Our communication sucks, as you can see,” she said. “He just won’t talk like a civilized person. Everything ends in shouting.”
Communication is THE deal-breaker in relationships—second only to trust, perhaps. Good communication starts with us as individuals, then we need to look at the needs and methods of the other person. If you can’t communicate well, you won’t have healthy relationships. Period. So let’s take a look at ways couples can strengthen communication.
Astrology and Communication
Astrological knowledge helps couples (or anyone) work with themselves and each other more effectively. First, look at the basic Sun and Moon duo. These two planets describe the fundamentals by which you operate, often unconsciously (the Sun), and your emotional and safety needs (the Moon). For example, Renee’s Sun is in Aries and her Moon is in Leo. She is fiery, independent, and fundamentally self-referencing, so she’ll act from her perspective first (unlike Libra or Cancer, who will consider others first). She’s not afraid of being alone, yet deep down, she needs acknowledgment and praise. She has a natural relationship with anger, and her shadow Leo can make a drama out of anything.
Michael is a Capricorn Sun with an Aquarius Moon, so he’s pretty removed from his emotions. He wants order, practical solutions, and praise for his objective mind. His Moon needs to be alone when threatened (why he walked out during our session), and he doesn’t like dramatic scenes.
Next, look at Mercury, for this placement governs how you approach communication of all kinds. Renee’s Mercury is in Aries; Michael’s is in Aquarius. While the air/fire duo can be mutually inspiring, it also can cause disconnect as fire communicates through instinct and air through logic. Aquarius just doesn’t do anger, while Aries says, “Bring it!”
You can see how understanding these differences will create a foundation on which to start compromising. So...Michael needs to activate the curious, objective side of his Mercury in Aquarius to engage with Renee’s impulsive and fiery Aries. They have to agree to meet in the middle; Michael needs to not fear Renee’s emotions, and Renee needs to express some of her fire in other ways—not just “at” Michael. Sometimes she’s the one who needs to take a timeout.
Own Your Flaws
The biggest obstacle to good communication is projection and lack of self-awareness. As I worked with Renee, she reluctantly became aware that she was initiating most of the shouting. Michael—as his astrology showed—would go quiet and escape if he could. By blaming him for being argumentative, she didn’t have to own that it was really her pattern.
None of us want to look at how mean, passive-aggressive, or manipulative we can be. But until we own our flaws (with compassion), we will continue to project them onto our relationships. None of us are good, heroic, or selfless all the time—nor are we always mean or evil (can you tell I’ve been watching old episodes of Once Upon A Time?). Just accept that we’ve all got flaws. And then work on yours.
When you find yourself in the midst of an argument and you see your shadow self in action, stop. Own it. That doesn’t mean you are taking responsibility for the whole issue, just that you can be honest about where you are. Renee learned to say, “I’m feeling rage” and to give herself a timeout to beat some pillows. Michael learned to acknowledge that he’d checked out because things were too intense and to ask for a minute to come back to his body. For these two, learning to speak their truth in the moment was a game changer. Which leads me to...
Okay—you might not want to hear this, but to really excel at communication, you’ve got to be vulnerable. Sometimes it will go badly, but often when you are open, honest, and put your reality out there, the other person will meet you halfway. Maybe not the first time, but eventually they will (and if they don’t—well, they’ve got work to do).
Renee didn’t know how to be vulnerable. She had four brothers, and her Aries had served her well in this dynamic by making her brave, scrappy, and tenacious. Unfortunately, no one in her family did “soft” very well, let alone vulnerable. She practiced being vulnerable with me, then trusted friends, and finally Michael. She was blown away to find that his Capricorn was honored by her personal integrity and openness, which melted his defensive fear of losing control.
Communication is a vast and complicated topic which is at the core of many relationship issues. Refining your skills can be a life-long project, but a good place to start is with understanding your patterns (astrology is a great tool), owning your defenses, and taking the risk of being vulnerable. We all feel scared, insufficient, and afraid of abandonment or betrayal. Know that the other person is really just like you. Show them what you’d like to experience yourself, and you will be well on your way to real, masterful communication.
Advisors on Keen can guide you through tangled communication issues and help you find common ground. Get the support you need, and call today!