One of my best friends and I have the same birthday – Nov. 9, 1997 – which means we’re both Scorpios. We love sending Scorpio memes to each other, and we often talk about our experiences as this Zodiac sign. When we were hanging out with some of our other friends one day, he shared a half-joke. “As a Scorpio, I don’t hold anger. I hold deep resentment,” he said. I laughed because what at first sounded almost like a holier-than-thou comment quickly took a turn and became quite the opposite. But then I realized: I’m the exact same way. His sentiment was all fun and games until I realized I also hold resentment as a Scorpio, and I dislike that quality in myself.
[I hate conflict, so] I usually don’t speak up – but then the offended feelings I experience fester and build inside me until they become full-blown resentment.
What I find especially interesting about my resentment is it starts in a well-intentioned place. As someone who hates conflict more than anything, I’ll do everything I can to avoid it. And as someone whose feelings have been invalidated many times, I often tell myself to just get over my upset emotions because I’m making a big deal out of nothing. So when a friend offends me, for example, I usually don’t speak up – but then the offended feelings I experience fester and build inside me until they become full-blown resentment. As a result, I struggle to get over what happened and to forgive my friend in the back of my mind, especially when a similar situation pops up in our friendship again.
I don’t want to react this way. I know communication is crucial in relationships, and I know my friends would rather us fix the problem together than me hold onto my anger. While I love some Scorpio characteristics I have, like passion and charisma, I realized I don’t want resentment to be one of the Scorpio characteristics I embody. So I decided to turn to my therapist and ask for her advice on how to address my conundrum of knowing I need to communicate but also intensely hating the conflict and drama I fear will come with it.
One key skill my therapist shared was knowing when to address the problem with someone. For example, bringing up my pain in the moment is best when my friend and I are both calm. This way, we can handle the situation right away and head-on, without drawing it out. However, when the moment is heated and I could potentially cause a bigger blowup, waiting a bit to explain my concerns is the better option.
Another skill we discussed was using an “I statement,” which is a crucial communication tool to use in both of the above situations. “I statements” allow us to share how we feel and what we need in a nonaccusatory way, and they look like this: “I feel ___ when ___ because ___. Can you ___ instead?” By wording our anger, frustration, or sadness like this, we share how we feel (which the other person can’t debate) and the changes we need for the relationship to improve.
Both of these skills helped me handle conflict better, and I now hold less resentment against others. Knowing the best time to mention my hurt feelings and how to do so effectively helps me feel more comfortable and equipped in addressing the issue. And once my friend and I fix the problem and apologize as needed, I can more easily move on.
While I love being a Scorpio, I want to be a happy and healthy one – and with the communication skills my therapist taught me, I’ve been able to work on that.