The word manipulate has dual meanings. It can be defined as (1) the ability to handle or control in a skillful manner. Or, (2) to control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously.
Most of us, if we’re completely honest with ourselves, will recognize: when it comes to dealing with the emotions of other people, we’ve chosen to handle situations by instituting both definitions, whether partially or in full.
The purpose of this article isn’t to promote divisions between people by casting off one segment of the human population as “manipulative” and another group as not being so. Rather, the intention of sharing these thoughts is to shine a light on the Moon’s connection to other planets and possibly what types of techniques and strategies (both constructive and non-constructive) may be present or possible, both natally and via synastry contacts.
My theory here is : for every planetary contact which suggests maladaptive and under-functioning qualities that may contribute to a dynamic of emotional manipulation, one could use the very same planetary energies in a constructive and developmental fashion in order to address those same issues, that one originally may have felt that manipulation (in a potentially damaging sense) was the only way to get their needs met.
Some of these methods are overt, while others are more covert in nature. Nevertheless, as stated before, many of the solutions, or developmental lessons are found right within the challenges of these aspects to the Moon (in an individually birth chart or in synastry between two people).
Here’s some food for thought in regard to the aspects:
Moon-Mercury: Choosing an overly “rational” approach to matters which clearly have emotional merit and value. Labeling the other party as being “overly emotional” and insisting on “logic” as a device to devalue feelings or the other person’s experiences. Using the request to “calm down” as a means to manipulate the honest responses of another person. “Minimization” where the aggressor is attempting to assert that their behavior really isn’t as harmful as the other is making it out to be.
*Using this aspect constructively one can make the choice to speak honestly about what’s on one’s mind AND heart, combining the analytic function of Mercury with lunar instincts.
Moon-Venus: Flattery as a form of manipulation. Using charm, seduction or niceties to lower defenses and suspicions in order to conceal more aggressive intentions. Using praise as a subtle form of manipulation (when the praise is gone, one may interpret that as displeasure, and wonder what they need to do to get it back.)
*Using this aspect constructively, one can “fight fairly” and attempt to find points of agreement to deepen dialogue versus viewing the entire interaction or relationship through a “winning” and “losing” lens.
Moon-Mars: Combat and Aggression as a means of manipulation. Using the sheer strength of one’s emotions to “steamroll” or bully the other person. Utilizing the interaction as a chance to purposely injure rather than truly understand the other person or the nature of the conflict. Being “mad” or “outraged” as a tactic with hopes that the anger will consume the other’s attention so much that they will cease to investigate the validity of the claim.
*Using this aspect constructively, one can vow to be hard on the problem and not on the person; using one’s assertiveness and sense of urgency to attack the root causes of the conflict.
Moon-Jupiter: Manipulating through righteous indignation or claims of “moral superiority”. Attempts to convince that you’re the “right” or the “good” person within the interaction, while the other is the “bad” or “wrong” one. The implication here is one of smug disappointment, a.k.a. “I thought you were better than that” or, “I expected more from you.” The hopes are that the person will feel so ashamed of not being “a good person” that they’ll give in and change their position.
*Using this aspect constructively, one can institute the principles of good will and charity. One can make the choice to sincerely honor, respect and give credence to the perspective of another based on the principles of partnership. In addition, when viewing through a mature lens, one can seize conflict as a growth opportunity.
Moon-Saturn: “Withholding” as a means of manipulation. Becoming purposely cold, remote and emotionally inaccessible in attempts to punish the other person. There’s a suggestion that the partner will now need to “work” to gain one’s affections back. Also, the “dumping”, or assigning of responsibility to how one feels onto the other. Manipulation through obligation or guilt.
*Using this aspect constructively, one can learn to take responsibility for and control over one’s feelings and work toward a place of integrity within, so the likelihood of one’s emotional expressions will dramatically increase. In addition, the establishment of healthy boundaries between oneself and others is paramount. However, this needs to be differentiated from placing an intentional barrier to intimacy.
Moon-Uranus: Unpredictability as a means of manipulation. “What will She/He do next?” is the main question when one is experiencing this particular dynamic. One person intentionally seeks to keep another “off-balance” in hopes that they will become so engrossed in the vacillation of behavior that’s taking place that they’ll place less emphasis on the unhealthy and imbalanced transactions they’re continuing to participate in.
*Using this aspect constructively, one can experiment with novel perspectives in regard to emotional conflicts. Where you think there’s “no way” , using the power of ingenuity and fresh, unconventional approaches (which will often deviate from socially “accepted” ones) to confront and share feelings can be of lasting benefit.
Moon-Neptune: Obfuscation and avoidance as a means of manipulation. (“Let’s talk about this later.”) “Spacing out”, or an altogether denial of one’s or another’s emotions. Intentionally crafting things as unclear or nebulous. Refusing to provide concrete definitions and feelings. Operating off of deceit, lies (through omission). (“Who? Me?”) Or, possibly taking a victim’s stance in the way of being under the influence of alcohol or substances (“you know how I get when I drink, smoke weed, etc…”)
*Using this aspect constructively, rather than elude, one seeks to form emotional connections through the strength of merger. Putting one’s best foot forward while emphasizing one’s ability to relate, empathy and unconditional acceptance, no matter how the other person may be feeling produces feelings of mutual compassion and an ideal atmosphere for resolving emotional conflicts.
Moon-Pluto: Manipulation through pathologizing. (“The reason that you act like that is because of your family situation growing up.”) Becoming an unsolicited psychotherapist and labeling the other as “abnormal” or “crazy” for thinking or feeling the way that they do. Also, purposely unearthing wounds which may have been revealed to you in confidence at a previous time in attempts to shame the other person.
*Using this aspect constructively, one can use deep psychological insight as a means to identify root causes and facilitate healing of emotional wounds. This is the “psychotherapist” that’s solicited and sincere. Also, the potential to use shared authentic emotional expression as a means to deepen bonds and arouse healthy passion is contained within this planetary framework.
References: “In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing With Manipulative People” by George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D.