Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 7, 2009

Mars Mission 2: Anger—the Guard Dog of Denial

©2007 by Donna Cunningham, MSW ( an excerpt from the ebook, Outer Planet Aspects to Venus and Mars: The Outer Planets and Inner Life, v.2).

Nothing makes us madder than some darned fool telling us the truth!  If we grew up in dysfunctional families, in order to survive our upbringing, we learned to be highly sensitive, reactive, and always on the alert for a threat to the status quo.

Thus, we tend to be easily wounded by even the gentlest reminder of the shortcomings of ourselves, our families, or other codependent ties. Whether we show it outwardly or not, we may react with rage to even the most constructive of criticisms. In order to protect our denial, we may go so far as to sever relationships with people who are unwise enough to rock the boat with the facts. (No one said we were easy to live with!)

Skywriter Donna Cunningham Mars retrogradeThese patterns might be especially true of Mars-Neptune aspects, but all outer planet aspects to Mars represent some form of defensiveness against threats to the status quo.

People who have Mars-Pluto aspects may defend against a perceived threat through controlling behaviors or withdrawal and isolation. Mars-Uranus people may defend themselves by an in-your-face attitude of rebellion or uproar.

Anger is the guard dog of denial. In some cases, the denial is so strong or the ego so vulnerable that anger is a pit bull.  Do you resent people who puncture your illusions, threaten your denial about your own or loved one’s addictions or destructive behaviors, or make you face up to your shortcomings?

Do you respond by closing down, running away, or cutting off the relationship? If so, you short-circuit your own growth and deny yourself real intimacy with others, an intimacy based on mutual honesty.

Anger keeps the past alive.  Family difficulties that created a painful childhood are often present when the outer planets are strong in the 10th, 4th, or 1st houses.

In the course of our lives, we who come from dysfunctional families have had many causes for anger. Terrible things may have happened to us and to other family members because of our parents’ problems. As adults, because many of us didn’t know how to assert ourselves, we may play out the victim role. Our conditioned reaction patterns can leave a trail of broken relationships.

Anger may be all we have left to connect us to a family member, an old lover, or a former friend. By continuing to hold on to it, we keep the relationship alive and current, at least in our own minds. We make that person or incident very important in our lives and give them enormous power. We’d like to believe we’re still as important to them–not accepting that they may barely think of us at all any more.

The more energy we invest in the past in the form of anger, the less energy we have available for more intimacy and a better life today.  It’s like putting a militia to work guarding a cemetery, when the same labor force could have built a new road.

Are yDonna Cunningham ebook Venus and Marsou wasting energy on anger at someone or something else, when you could be building a future for yourself? Isn’t that just another way to take the focus off yourself? Rehashing old war stories may even be a way to avoid facing intimacy. When you’re angry, it may help to ask yourself the following questions:

  1.  How do I use anger to protect my denial?
  2.  Am I willing to let go of anger about things that happened in the past so I can build a better life for myself today?
  3.  Am I willing to give up Being Right in order to be happier?

Whenever I am thoroughly, obsessively ticked off with someone, here’s the failsafe tool I use to stop it.  I go and sit in my meditation corner, open up A Course in Miracles to the first chapter and reread the primary tenet of the course, one that has never failed to stop the nonsense from cycling through my mind over and over.  Here it is:

“Nothing real can be threatened;  nothing unreal exists. Therein lies the Peace of God”   A Course in Miracles.

Note: This has been an excerpt from my ebook, Outer Planet Aspects to Venus and Mars (The Outer Planets and Inner Life, v.2), available at Moon Maven Publications.

More Excerpts from Donna’s Books:

More Posts about Mars on this Blog:

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  1. Another very helpful series. I have often felt we would all benefit from a basic anger management course.

    My natal 12th house Mars in Scorpio is widely square Pluto in Leo and withdrawal/isolation was my first choice. Very controlling . . . bleh. Slowly have learned over the years to be more assertive but it is NOT easy – necessary but not easy. 🙂

  2. With a natal retrograde Mars, my [ex] husband used to often say that I festered. Oh how I hated that word. Fortunately, now I’ve learned the difference between festering and wisely being slow to anger. Being angry does take so much energy — energy I’d rather use elswhere. As you so aptly said, Donna, “It’s like putting a militia to work guarding a cemetery, when the same labor force could have built a new road.” I really liked that example!

  3. Donna,

    This series has spoken to me and helped me on so many levels. I, also, particularly liked the sentence “It’s like putting a militia to work guarding a cemetery, when the same labor force could have built a new road.” Wow! I’ve sure been guilty of that! Thank you so very much.


  4. …and a year later these canny insights are still helping to heal the wounded. Thank you.

  5. Just like Laura said, this sentence sums it all up: ‘It’s like putting a militia to work guarding a cemetery, when the same labor force could have built a new road.’ I’m guilty of that too.

  6. Wow, I have had to stop and think about every paragraph…especially the beginning ” Anger is the guard dog of denial”. Hadn’t looked at it that way but it rings of such truth. Gemini Uranus, Mars (r) opposite Sag Sun, Moon.
    Thank you for all of the insight, as well as the “Course of Miracles” quote.


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