I came across this from 2008 while searching for something else. It was a really good question and worth a re-hash. My life has improved considerably and dramatically since 2008 but this was all true at the time. When you’re up to your ears in pain, you don’t want more pain.
“I am interested in your “pull the plug’ strategy. Reading over the years it seems that it’s a strategy that you have used (have had to use) more than once, sometimes with more drastic results than others. (In fact in a mild case you used it on me – I wrote you an email in which a joke I made was offensive, and you unsubscribed from my blog without telling me I had offended you! I had no idea!). I do not think I would be capable of leaving a situation without explanation. I do leave situations in a “no looking back’ manner, but only after outlining why. I need to communicate. I was wondering, is it energy conservation- or is there another reason why you pull the plug so abruptly?”
Amber – I do it to protect myself. I have a difficult life. It is tremendously ungodly difficult whether you can see that or not so if you add to my burden, good bye. And for the record, I have no recollection whatsoever of doing this to/with you which is another defense. Saturn Neptune. I seriously erase things that injure me. These things are gone like a sand castle that the tide comes and washes away. Consequently I don’t carry hard feelings for anyone which you are probably aware of, as long as you have been reading.
I got this from Henry. He felt you should be nice to everyone, give the benefit of the doubt but if they proved themselves to be disagreeable then you walk. The “without firing a shot” was implied. Henry also carried no bad will to anyone and I am same. I go right to “I could care less” generally within a week of amputating if not within a day or two. People who know me know this is true. People who don’t would be amazed to find out it is because it’s damned near a phenomenon.
There is also the Mercury in Libra angle, “If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all.” Mars in Libra hates to fight (except with the lover). Saturn Neptune disappears. Put this all together and this is just how I behave. Someone else might blow up your house or set booby traps or produce a smear campaign. I figure six of one, half dozen of the other but bottom line, I get hurt and I cut the rope. I’ve just got too many other problems and I’m not kidding about that.
Specific to you I am sorry if you were hurt and again I have no recollection of this (and prefer not to be reminded) so clean slate if you want, ‘kay?
To update in 2011 – my 7th house Uranus is also implicated here – I detach. I also have a very strong Jupiter in my chart and as my sister put it once, “You are the leaving-est motherfucker I’ve ever met.” I just don’t like strife and pain so if I can’t get along with someone, I am happy to accept it and move along.
How do you respond when injured?
When my feelings are hurt, my Aries Moon kicks in and I yell a lot and storm off. If I’m deeply hurt, I freeze you out, forever. If you say something unnecessarily cruel to me, or if you hurt my family or loved ones, I will just cut off all ties. When I am angry at someone, I can’t even make eye contact with them. I don’t want to see them or hear any explanations. Cancer Sun.
I do have Mars/Pluto some I’m all for amputation…My Taurus Sun/Mercury are very prominent in some cases of injury. Which means I get stunned by some attacks. And I react slowly…
While I can appreciate some people’s need for communication I find some forms of overt emotionalism ridiculous and highly manipulative (and I’m not referring to anything/any person here).
Case in point: I watched a gal from school LOSE her shit because someone else killed a fruit fly. Even though she was eating meat! Hello? I do not feel like I have to be emotional and communicative out of a sense of duty. Please don’t make me call you on your bullshit. I really, really would prefer to stay away and let someone else, lol.
It depends on the nature of the injury, but to give a quick example my SO was teasing me last weekend in the presence of a friend and I reacted by bursting into tears and locking myself in the bedroom…I think I cried about an hour and a half and couldn’t stop crying until the next day (JESUS! Pluto into the 1st anyone?)
So yes I am prone to my own wacky outburts…but I do NOT think everyone will feel the same as me…in fact I am more likely to feel very alone and that no one will understand me (Sun Square Saturn).
If I really cared about how someone was treating me, I’d just ask. I’m pretty good at framing things in a way that doesn’t exacerbate problems so long as the Taurus in me isn’t involved…my Mars/Pluto is actually more of a controlled expression than my natal Sun.
Is that weird? Can anyone relate?
I do the “pull the plug thing” & there is generally no ill will. I have a weirdly amorphous sense of self/ego though, so I only started doing that in my 30’s when my sense of self kind of solidified.
Watch out when someone else is being injured somehow though. Or what I perceive as “the truth” is being injured or an ideal or something.
With my limited astrology knowledge, I feel like I fall back on my Cancer ascendant when I am hurt – I retract into my shell. There’s been a few times when I’ve cut all ties abruptly with someone, but never as profoundly as when I left my first husband. After deciding that I had had enough absue, he left for work one morning never to see me again. I packed what I could carry and made sure that my parent’s phone number and address were no longer in the apartment (my family was living in a foreign country from where we were living). I didn’t have any contact with him until I filed for divorce about a year later. It was very traumatic for me. I’ve heard from mutual friends that it was traumatic for him as well.
“I’m thinking you should specify acquaintances here. Obviously nobody who is functional is going to treat their highly invested personal relationships this way.”
I guess I figure this goes without saying because I do not become highly invested with people who would be inclined to hurt me. I am sorry for how that may sound and it is not personal to Amber who I swear I have no recollection of a conflict. (I am pretty sure she has read my blog(s) for 5 or more years. I am just being candid and I cop to being very sensitive so the people I become close to either are sensitive as well or we just find our way, like my old friend Leon I wrote about recently.
He used to cross lines and hurt me deeply and I would bolt in response. Eventually he/we managed to stop this pattern, it took us about 3 years. Worth it, we have been friends for 25.
But I am what I would call “reactive” especially when stressed as I outlined in the video but while I think I am responsible to keep that in mind, I also think someone who fucks with someone in crisis is looking for the knife and may deserve it. It’s the hall of mirrors I guess. Because if I cut you, you can say “look how reactive Elsa is,” or you might say, “What did I do…?” and discover you were an insensitive cad. Most people do the former. People who look at their own end might end up contacting with an apology which is pretty much what Leon did although it came via his wife.
In whatever case he allowed me to know he was sorry…. regretted hurting me, valued having me at his card games, would try to me more careful with his knife or whatever.
In turn, I loved him too so we’d go back to the table. But if I am getting nothing out of the relationship in the first place then yeah. I am going to cut and run very quickly and if you were in my shoes I bet you’d do the same.
Problem is no one knows my shoes and no one ever will because I’m not going to tell them, LOL. Mostly because if I tell them they don’t believe me anyway so I leave it to the people who can figure things out on their own to be my friends.
Not sure how this sounds and I guess it doesn’t matter because it is the way I am and I like myself pretty enormously. :-O
I’m thinking you should specify acquaintances here.
Obviously nobody who is functional is going to treat their highly invested personal relationships this way. You have to give the people you dearly love room to occasionally screw up. And if you dump close friends every time you get hurt, you end up with no close friends real fast.
I mean, there are people who even pull the plug on their own kids when their feelings get hurt… but I don’t think that any of us would consider that a healthy behavior.
As far as protecting myself goes: Saturn in Leo has actually been my greatest ally here. The moment someone loses my respect, they lose almost all of their power over me. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to do something really nasty. Voila! They seem worthless to me and it’s no loss to pull the plug on them. There’s also no point in exacting any kind of revenge… revenge is for enemies you respect. Why seek revenge on an insect?
This is a double-edged sword of course… once people get into my inner circle, they’re IN. But that’s pretty common, I think, and goes along with what I said about investment: you’ll let people hurt you if they’re in your circle. That’s just how it works. It’s part of being a social animal… the ability to bounce back from conflict.
“Very mature, I know.”
Ha ha ha, but I love the drama and at least you’re honest!
Yes I have done this. I believe it is likely my Saturn in Scorpio.
I have never done this with no warning though, that I can recall anyway. I will try and discuss what it is I find offensive or hurtful and give them a chance because I have been misunderstood enough times. I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt because we all have said things that come across wrong to another. A lie is a different story though. Anyway if they blow their freebie and go for it again, they become what I call a non person.
It isn’t a knee jerk reaction, a person has to earn the dubious distinction willfully. I would like to be detached enough that I don’t have to get into the situation in the first place, but I am not there yet.
I wish I could improve my amputation skills. I’m quite admiring of you. I tend to go through a lot of pain for years with people before walking away. Maybe it’s my Mars in Cancer, maybe it’s all my Libra. My weapon of last resort, however, is Sun conjunct Uranus, which lets me burn a hole right through the cage when I need to (or right through some poor sucker.) I just have to… er, dry out the tinder first.
Usually I’ll freeze, give the person one “how could you?!” kind of look and storm off. And then I sulk. Very mature, I know.
“Not sure how this sounds”
It sounds like an axe. 🙂 Perfectly reasonable in the hands of a decent human being.
Reading through these reactions and coping mechanisms, I’m thinking… it doesn’t sound like any one particular method of dealing with pain makes you a good or a bad person. It’s all in the details of how you pull it off and when you choose to do it.
I’m Southern. Like Becca, I just get very very VERY polite.
Mars in Capricorn. heh. “Let’s observe the proper outward forms, shall we?” And from only feeling obligated to observe proper social behavior, rather than having a genuine connection, it’s relatively easy for me to just allow a connection with a venomous person to fade into nothingness.
Funnily enough, I rarely have to deal with someone who just won’t go away. I’m thinking of The Soldier having to deal with that judge here. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen to me very often.
And another aspect of this is that on the rare occasions when I’ve noticed myself being “ugly” in my behavior, I’ve cut myself off–after an apology–to keep from damaging the other person and myself any further.
discuss (if the interaction is important enough to me.)
and leave or fix it.
fixing is hard. saved for the most important things.
when someone has crossed the line a few times with me, sometimes they just become invisible to me. i may say hello how are you, but i will not engage beyond pleasantries. it’s not that i hold a grudge and wish them ill will, it’s just that there is only so much time in this life and you might as well spend it doing things you like to do… with people that you like.
i will stand up for myself but I have never found anger to be very helpful. sure I can become angry but expressing it in the heat of the moment never seems to work for me. i am learning to ask questions. ‘i’m sorry did i miss something, are you upset with me? was it something i said or didn’t say?
also i may seek out some help from someone i love and respect like my partner and replay the scene with them. i find that talking about what went wrong helps. Talking about an event like when you were the recipient or the brunt of some emotional projection or unusual behaviour helps me anyway. It is good when you can do this for each other, sort of a how was your day, you will never believe what so and so said to me today.
the other day i was being pushed and pushed in a conversation and i just sat there doing the rope a dope thing that Elsa talks about until the other person was completely unwound and then said, ‘i am beginning to think that you don’t like me.’ and paused. this caused a wave of apologetic words and laid the groundwork for me to be able to ask, how can i help you?, how can we make this work? this was certainly a breakthrough from the previous sessions with this person.
there is some brilliant comments here. do you ever wish that you did not have to deal with relationship challenges? well than you might as well live in a cabin in the mountains with ‘old yeller’ because when you live and work with other people there will always be challenges. i think it is one of the reasons we are here.
wash, rinse, repeat
I understand the “protection” thing that Elsa talks about but for me it may be for different reasons. Although my moon is in Virgo, when I am hurt , I tend to become evasive. Also, I internalize a lot of my emotions and become very critical of myself. It’s self undoing and I should learn to give myself a break. Usually no one knows that I consciously do this to myself and that I am feeling low. For me it gets right into my “self worth”…..ugh!!
in amongst the crap, having totally given up on any prospect of a love life (see initial post), I’ve just met a bloke with moon conjunct uranus in scorpio and i’ve got moon conjunct neptune in scorpio. He’s a pisces and I’m an aquarian. So I guess there’s some kind of mutual reception going on.
It’s all pretty intense which of course I thrive on. But he’s a bit freaked out. Maybe I’m too intense even for another moon in scorpio?
Comments would be appreciated as this feels like the only bright spot in a gruelling period.
sorry wrote this in the wrong bit… was still on saturn transiting pluto in virgo…
but feedback would be appreciated!
No hard feelings whatsoever – I have been reading your stuff for years, and I know that you do things for a reason. It’s the ability to drop and erase which is fascinating to me, and I wish I had some more of it. I would say that because of your difficult life you have been able (forced) to learn these type of protection strategies fast. I wish I had earlier on – I need them now.
I’ve pulled the plug. It’s usually the method of choice. With my relationship with my parents growing up being that I got the cold shoulder if I didn’t fall into their delusions about themselves, I learned that silence often does quiet enough harm. When it comes to defending myself, a cruel gaze and complete cessation of contect works wonders. But when it comes to defending someone I love, I’ll spit, snarl and otherwise scare the bejesus out of someone.
But then, I’m a Scorp. rising, so this is all textbook.
Don’t know why I can’t do this. I give ample warning – then many many warnings. Then I go. I’m forgiving, and I do accept people back. I forgive, and I figure we’re only human – but as far as toxic people . . . yeah, I generally cut them out. I guess what I’m referring to here (giving chances) is my inner circle and then some. No one toxic gets to stay in my life.
But I’ve recently had an ex cut me out. Mad Taurus energy. Yikes! One day, we were talking, the next he needed space, and then bam. . . froze me out. It’s no fun being on that end.
How do you react when injured?
Of course Libra says..it depends.
Chances are if I sense an inkling of oncoming injury (perceived or real) I’m gone before it ever hits the fan (Mars conjunct Uranus backed up by a trine to Saturn). I bolt.
If whatever is hurting me is staring me dead in the face, even though I don’t like to fight, I will and when hurt I have a tendency to fight pretty ferociously.
I don’t have Saturn Neptune, but I have Moon Neptune which means I can walk away from you and go right back to my dreamy “the world is a lovely place” state and not feel another thing about it.
Basically the same as you, minus the detachment.
Oh spinner, sometimes I wish I could live in a cabin in the mountains with old yeller.
Amputate and forget. No more time wasted, or emotions, either. I get an almost allergic reaction to difficult people and find it very easy to not pursue any contact with them. I get this same feeling when people propose a work situation and I just know that they will get a lot more out of my contribution that I will as a part of “their” thing.
I was just thinking though about a woman I worked with who was very cutting and nasty. It was at the beginning of my time at that job and the first few months I am always very quiet (people at every job have noted this) so she prob thought I was a meek target. She was so rude so I really played up the meek part, acting overly polite and borderline afraid of her, to get her to think wow, she thinks I am such a witch that she is terrified of me. HA! When this finally occurred to her, she was so alarmed at being viewed that way that she forever bent over backwards to be nice to me.
But if I didn’t have to deal with her, I would have forgotten it the next day.
I do not cast pearls (my presence) before swine (these people). I may not matter that much to them anyway, but that thinking does make it easy to avoid problematic people.
hehe, Orlando, spinner 🙂
Cut. I’ve been called a cold bitch. If we get to that stage, ask yourself why, and leave me the hell alone.
I hate being mired in bullshit. (I have enough of my own making.) Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to have these things slip out of my mind. I have a freaky memory. So if it does get to that point I have to mean it. Once the decision is made, no vacillation.
I’m thinking the astrology might have a lot to do with my sun/moon/mars t-square. And if Libra is generally involved, I recently learned that the mars of the t-square is out of sign… half a degree into scorpio (in the 4th) instead of in Libra. Instinct tells me that this points to it taking a while for me to cut (or is that Saturn in the 9th?), but when I cut (or amputate or whatever you want to call it,) it’s final. No games, no drama. Done. The end.
ps: And I, too, often have fantasies of a hermit life in the bush.
Mars/Pluto conj in Virgo in 12th house. Two responses: amputation or leaving of person/situation AND/OR throwing myself into work. I try to avoid drama since I dislike talking things out but drama always finds me. Folks can’t seem to leave me alone once I’ve left. Another reason why I have always had unlisted phone numbers, no cell phone and won’t do Facebook.
Sometimes I’m too stunned to react.
Sometimes I will start crying.
Sometimes I run away.
I’m better defending myself against strangers who hurt me than people close to me, I wish I knew this is why. Mars/Uranus-IC inconj. maybe.
perfect timing – I just got off a phone call from an old friend wishing me a happy birthday and at the end of the convo.. I got upset when she just didn’t want to hear me mention something an ex- wrote on my FB wall. She said she didn’t want to hear it because I focus too much on him and the other and what I don’t have and what they have.. so I am reminded I have a friend who can only hear what she wants to hear in my life and not the whole story..
So I will prob not contact again for quite awhile as I do in this case= I will step away from ppl who only want to hear the good things and not the bad..
I’ll go internalize my anger and think of how much pain these type of ppl cause me and not talk to them anymore..Funny though I am supposed to listen when things bother them?
First round, unless it’s something unforgivable, I will explain what’s wrong and why I’m angry and ask the person not to do it again. (Wow that sounds way more together than I feel right now!)
Second round, repeat first with a reminder that we’ve had this chat before.
Third round, walk. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, and “I’m sorry, what was your name again?”
Mars in Cancer – I’m not always terribly assertive, but when I blow I blow and I prefer to salt the earth rather than spend the energy blowing up the enemy.
In the past 2 years I’ve amputated 4 people who were once very close to me. Wish I could say that I never think of them at all (someday).
Anyway….when they pop up in my thoughts I tell myself NO and think about my life in the here and now. I’ve moved on.
It depends. I can take a lot of crap. And then it’s like a switch moves to the “Off” position. It’s not even conscious, it’s like a curtain just comes down.
I tend to react defensively (Scorpio asc) with more frequency as time goes on (lifetime relationships). But these are last-straw things: cutting people off, or going for their weaknesses bc I’ve just had it up to my eyeballs with baloney.
Usually, I take a few days to think and then try to approach the person about it. My circles are fairly small, purposely, so the people I would be having such talks with are generally receptive.
One isn’t; so she gets the stinger every time. Then I get some stupid email about how she loves me even though I’m a hateful porcupine. Fine.
I’m like you. I’m not a fighter (some would call me a doormat). But, if you are obviously not thinking about my well being or you are just out to make life difficult for me-I will walk away or totally ignore you.
I think that this sometimes bakfires on me. I don’t usually confront the person before creating my boundary. I think I’m missing out on an opportunity to grow there by not confronting the situation that I don’t like. Also, the other person misses an opportunity as well….
Back in 2008, I was at the tail end of one of the worst periods of my life. I was no position to work things out with people who hurt me as I watched my daughter die.
In 2011, I am no longer in a survival mode and so I have far more capacity to handle things so it’s much less drastic, but really, if I determine you’re an asshole, I am not going to try to reform you – I’m walkin’.
I’ll jump in on this as well… I’m a Libra and I tend to pull the plug when things are going south… but I mean drastically. If it’s regarding a love situation and I feel I won’t get back what I’m giving, I would rather walk away than stick around to be hurt. There have been times when I have held onto situations, hoping to stick it out for the best. Most times, I would have been better off letting it go sooner than later.
Most recently, I pulled the plug on my entire life.. 2010 was one of the most difficult years in my entire adult life. After surviving the storm, one day last month I knew it was time for a drastic change. I gave up my apartment, threw my things in storage and flew across the country for a work opportunity… I made the decision within 48 hours. It was the best decision I have made in the past 5 years and for my well being. Everybody thought I was crazy for walking away from everything on a whim and a phone call. 1 month later, I’m happier than I’ve been in years, healthier and more productive. It was a gamble, but I’m glad I did it.
I’m with Elsa… it’s a survival tactic that may be seem harsh to others, but you have to make sure you’re okay. The act of walking away isn’t always about abandonment. Many times, it’s about protecting yourself from abusive people, relationships and all around bad life choices… that we would not usually make if we were in a better position in the first place… hope that makes sense 🙂
“Back in 2008, I was at the tail end of one of the …I was in no position to work things out …”
I had just begun reading your blog then, and was in a similar deep pit of loss. Without knowing all the details of your life, there was a kinship that I found as I limped through the rebuilding of our lives after homelessness.
I’m Scorpio and Saturn/Pluto packed, and amputating was the only way to catherize the wounds and slowly rebuild. I had to learn that survival is JUST that … make it through, and sort later. Few of the old friends remain close, some are different friends.
2011 is a new time, an Aries-infused new beginning and I know myself and my amputation and other phoenix rising from the ashes skills. Among them is my strength of walking. I’m getting better and better with each walk I take.
Turning this one over again, is a real Pluto-review, ha?
In relationships, when i get my feelings hurt, i have a tendency to shut down, not communicate. Usually because i *know* how small it is to them even though it’s huge to me. This always happens in the beginning of relationships, and i’m too scared to show it. They’re in their happy little world and here i am being all serious. It’s usually all of my seriousness that turns people off. Then i’m left wondering, why the hell did i give this person a chance? It ends with me being furious that the person isn’t compatable/serious enough for me. And in that case, i could really give a shit. I can scare a weak sonofabitch off, that’s fo sho!!
I guess you could say i’m a passive aggressive amputator. I get them to do it for me. I didn’t even realize this until just now. I don’t think i realized that’s what i was doing. Good stuff, Elsa. 🙂
I amputate. Strangely,in my experience the amputee has tried to make a comeback, but if I feel betrayed that is the end of it. No going back.
Elsa, do you ever find people try to keep tugging at you to try to get you to react?
Yes I do, Caroline but it’s irrelevant to me in the scheme of things.
And if so, how did you/do you deal with this?
I was just wondering because as you know I have been severing and each time it has triggered the experience of this intense primal & psychological terror that I don’t really know whether to pay attention to it or not or how the hell to deal with it.
Like I legit fear these people coming to my house and coming after me & my family and all this crazy shiz…
A few times when someone was so disrespectful that I felt that I could not fathom the behavior I’d say, “I must take time out of this situation” to the other person… they’re still my friend, but they’re on the back burner until I’m ready to sort it out, which may be a long time. It’s important to set really clear boundaries, something we learn over time… anyhow it’s destructive to allow anyone to speak to you in a condescending way, and you don’t do them any favors by letting them get away with it. You have to let them know that it is inappropriate. Most of the time it is simply the other person has a personality disorder (they are frustrated because they are not getting their way/attention and acting out) and does it to other people as well, but your life is your life, and it needs to be a good quality, happy life, and not filled with unnecessary turmoil.
My Taurus Moon keeps the anger tightly bottled up, and if the person dares offend me again- I let them have it. It’s not pretty at all.
When someone pisses me off (which takes a lot due to my Taurus moon and mars in the 12th house), I have many different reactions. My first reaction is to yell at them and/or write an angry email (Sun and Mercury in Scorpio square Mars in Aquarius) and then I ignore them. If I really like you, I will give you many, many chances. But if you really piss me off and you are not sorry about it, then I amputate in true Scorpio/Aquarius form. You do not exist to me, and I will not acknowledge your presence EVER.
With a Pisces Rising, this cold kind of behavior takes many people by surprise. I seem so kind, loving, forgiving, sweet, understanding…and I am, but all that will go away when you piss me off. When your chances are up, that is it for me. Don’t ever speak to me again.
As a matter of fact, that is the story behind my username. Someone pissed me off, I told them off and gave them the cold shoulder. In response, I got called an ice queen. It hurt at the same, but now I wear it with pride. It’ll teach people not to mess with me! Stay on my good side and you will be highly rewarded. Hurt me and you will definitely regret it.