Assertive or Aggressive ? – viewed from an Astrological Perspective

How do people experience you? Do they find you to be aggressive? Do they think you’re assertive? Do they mistake your assertiveness for aggressiveness?

This post is inspired by Sparksfromacombustiblemind: Assertive or Aggressive? which was inspired by Mentalhealthathome: What is… Assertiveness please click over to those posts as they are very interesting, informative, and I enjoyed reading them so maybe you will too.

I was briefly tempted to order you to CLICK ON THOSE LINKS NOW or something along those lines (because I have an awkward sense of humour), but I really would like for you to check out those posts, and ordering you to do it (even in jest and you knew I was jesting) would probably cause you to do the exact opposite.

If you’re like me, when someone tells me I have to do something and does it in a bossy manner, particularly if they SHOUT at me (like ads and promos online), I tend to react with an immediate NO.

Melanie (Sparksfromacombustiblemind) and Ashley (Mentalhealthathome) approached the question of – Aggressive or Assertive? – from psychological and personal angles. I thought I would do the same with a twist, adding an astrological perspective.

Please note: I’m not an astrologer, and the astrology you will find herein is mostly my version of astrology (which has been known to make professional astrologers cringe).

While I enjoy psychology, I find it can be a bit heavy-going, and a bit too focused on the negative, on what’s wrong with you, and how to fix what’s not working within you. After reading a psychology book or article online, I have often felt as though I was too effed up to ever work properly, and I have thought that the ideals and standards presented by professional mental health experts were too elevated, too idealistic, too perfection-oriented. Sometimes I get the impression that the therapist is more effed up than I am and is using their psychological training to escape from dealing with their own issues.

This is one of my favourite posts written about therapy by a therapist – Thegoodtherapists: Therapists need to own their stuff (for healing’s sake)

One of the things I love about astrology is that it outlines both the negative and the positive (of your natal chart, of a placement, aspect, sign, planet, etc), it explores the grey area in between, the subtle shifts and influences which can, for instance, cause a negative to be a positive and a positive to become a negative, and focuses upon how to work with those energies, feelings, thoughts, parts of being human.

It is particularly useful in figuring out how others may perceive and experience you.

Sometimes when you think what you’re doing is being assertive… the person on the receiving end of your assertiveness experiences you as being aggressive.

That’s easier to understand when you think of those times that you’ve experienced someone else as aggressive but they thought they were simply being assertive.

There are also cultural and gender factors to consider.

As in that issue of people (both male and female) finding it normal for a man to express himself in an aggressively assertive manner (because men are from Mars), he is bold and brave, but when a woman asserts herself, she is viewed as aggressive, a bitch, an angry feminist (because women are supposed to be from Venus).


La Naissance de Vénus by Jean-Honoré Fragonard


I grew up partly in Italy. Everyone (men, women, children) in Italy shouts when they communicate. If you visit Italy and you’re not used to it, it can seem as though the natives are constantly in a bad mood and arguing all the time really loudly in public. They’re just chatting. There’s a lot of swearing too, it’s not unusual to wish someone an unnatural death in the middle of a conversation. There are quieter, more polite Italians, you’ll mainly find them up North, and they tend to look down on those from the Southerly parts – “You’re from Rome, aren’t you…” – they’ll say after you were a bit rude, which isn’t rude at all in Rome.

In Italy you have to learn to be aggressively assertive (and determinedly stubborn about it) so as not to be bulldozed by other aggressively assertive (and determinedly stubborn about it) well-meaning hosts and hostesses who are convinced that you haven’t eaten enough food or drunken enough wine even though you’ve had twenty helpings and you’ve lost count of the glasses… everything is very blurry and making you nauseous.

Okay, onto my version of astrology… I’m mainly going to focus on Mars, although I might mention Venus as well so that she doesn’t get offended, upset, pissed off at me and curse me.

I’ll also bring the Ascendant (rising sign) into it, because it is considered to be how we meet and greet the world outside of us. People who try to guess your Sun sign based on how you look, dress, come across, and behave are more likely to guess your rising sign (unless the two are the same sign).

My rising sign is Virgo. As long as I don’t open my mouth too much, stick to social niceties and what is relevant in the moment, and don’t stare at them too intensely, they’ll mostly make the snap judgment that I’m nice, serious, well-behaved, reserved, possibly a bit of a push-over willing to bend over backwards to please people.

Here’s my natal chart, if you look at the AC (ascendant/rising sign) you’ll notice that there are quite a few lines connecting to it:

natal chart generated by Astrodienst

Those lines show that there are other aspects of my natal chart influencing and modifying the meet and greet facade of my rising sign. Both Mars and Venus make a connection to my AC – I can be Martian and Venusian, depending on how I perceive I need to be in the situation, and how I experience the person or people I am with.

How we experience and perceive other people can be found in the natal chart too, and one of the areas which shows that is the rising sign as it is how we see the world meeting and greeting us.

I have often experienced and perceived the world and the people in it as being critical of me. Pick, pick, picking on me, how I dress, how I look, how I behave, what I do, how I express myself…

If I had a penny for every time someone has said to me: “You didn’t need to shout and be so aggressive…

Well, yes, I did need to shout and be aggressive, because the first time I said No (or whatever else I said) quietly and politely, you didn’t hear me.

Would you like some more soup? That was delicious, thank you but no thank you.

Then when I said it a bit louder but still politely, you seemed perplexed as though maybe again you didn’t hear me.

Would you like some more soup? No, thank you, that was delicious.

So I said it again more firmly, bluntly, less politely, and while you did hear it, it wasn’t what you wanted to hear, and you decided to not accept my answer, and press me for a different one (like I’m some machine into which you keep putting coins until you get the fortune you want).

Would you like some more soup? No, thank you. But you’ve hardly eaten any, and someone has to eat it, it won’t keep, surely you’ll have some more, yes, have some moreNo, I am full, I do not want more soup, thank you.

Once again I repeated myself, firmly, my tone getting edgier, stressing that this was my final answer, and you looked a bit miffed, I could see your mood getting huffier and puffier, preparing to blow my house down. At this point you decided to get aggressively assertive about not accepting my answer, and started to lecture me on how wrong I was to not give you the answer you wanted.

You must have more soup, I insist. No, thank you, I do not want any more soup. But I made it especially for you, I slaved over a hot stove for hours to make it, and now you’re not going to eat it. I did eat it. You had two spoonfuls of it, you must have more, I’ll be very upset if you don’t, have more, here I’ll fill your bowl for youNO, don’t do that, I won’t eat it! What is wrong with you, it’s delicious, nutritious, have more, go on, go on, go on, go on…

I wanted off of this merry-go-round and decided that your aggressive assertiveness needed an equal forcefulness to meet and greet it. So I raised my voice, shouted my answer… and now you’re complaining that I blew your head off.

I don’t care what you want, I want you to have more soup, and you will eat it all upNO, I DON’T WANT ANY MORE OF THAT EFFING SOUP!!!


Mars in the 3rd House: By asserting themselves on the environment (usually through their words, opinions, knowledge or points of view) people with Mars in the 3rd affirm their power, vitality and existence. Although many of us are afraid to say what we really think, this is precisely what those with Mars in the 3rd must do – if possible, of course, with tact, the universal antidote to a bad case of Mars.

Some may be afraid that being clear and direct is too rude or blunt. As a result, instead of saying what they really want to say, they resort to dropping large hints and heaving great sighs. Unfortunately, in any house containing Mars there appears to be a kind of storage tank which can accommodate only a certain amount of unexpressed thought, feeling or action before it blows up and makes a huge mess.

Ultimately, with Mars in the 3rd, it is better to say what one is feeling or thinking rather than suppressing anything for too long.

– Howard Sasportas, The Twelve Houses (Mars and Aries through the Houses)


One thing which I like to keep in mind is – Do I do unto others as I would like for others to do unto me – in other words am I being a hypocrite, living the double-standards life, or am I practicing what I preach, walking my talk?

When it comes to asking people a question – Do you want more soup? – do I listen to their answer the first time they give it, does it sink into that place where you accept the answers people give you or does it go into an inner pinball machine where you try to stop the ball from dropping into that place where you accept the answers people give?

Usually I’ll take a person’s first answer to my question as their final answer. I might throw in an – Are you sure? – just to make sure they’re sure (some people say no but mean yes and expect you to check on that with them for their truly final real answer). Especially if I prepared the soup and they just answered in the affirmative that they wanted more – Are you sure you want more because that soup was really disgusting?

However if we’re discussing something a little bit more serious than soup, like a problem… if it’s a puzzle-like problem I may get rather passionately involved in trying to solve it, and I may lose sight of the fact that they’ve dozed off while I analyse all the possible variations, actions, consequences, optional solutions…


There is usually an active, eager mind with quick repartee. A piercing intellect, a strong vocabulary or sharp verbal ability may be stockpiled as necessary weapons with which to mount any advance. Although sometimes those with a 3rd house Mars may ‘ram’ their thoughts down another person’s throat, their words also have the capacity to arouse others to action.

Then again, they may spend as much time fighting their own thoughts as challenging those of other people. They can attack any subject of interest with zeal, and there is a natural desire to talk or write about whatever excites them. Some may ‘blow off steam’ through writing down their thoughts and feelings. A good form of self-therapy might be composing an angry letter to someone with whom they are furious, and then ripping it up.

– Howard Sasportas, The Twelve Houses (Mars and Aries through the Houses)


…and I might get a bit annoyed with them, a little pushy, but usually I tend to only up the aggressive levels if they repeatedly come back to me with the same problem, they’re stuck in a loop (and I really don’t want to be part of the loop they’re stuck in, thanks but no thanks I have my own loops to get out of… oh, shit, you’re part of one of mine, why didn’t I notice that before!?)…

Do they really want out of the loop or not? Do they really want to solve this problem? Or is this problem not really a problem but a solution? They like having the problem and trying to solve it… they’re a Yes, But

Why Don’t You – Yes But

White: “My husband always insists on doing our own repairs, and he never builds anything right.”
Black: “Why doesn’t he take a course in carpentry?”
White: “Yes, but he doesn’t have time.”
Blue: “Why don’t you buy him some good tools?”
White: “Yes, but he doesn’t know how to use them.”
Red: “Why don’t you have your building done by a carpenter?
White: “Yes, but that would cost too much.”
Brown: “Why don’t you just accept what he does the way he does it?”
White: “Yes, but the whole thing might fall down.”

Such an exchange is typically followed by a silence. It is eventually broken by Green, who may say something like, “That’s men for you, always trying to show how efficient they are.”

– Eric Berne, Games People Play

I’ve been a Yes, But… so I know where any conversation with another Yes, But… is going to end up – the same place where it started, only those who were trying to solve the Yes, But…‘s problem will most likely have lost some hair in the process, as well as some patience, levels of tolerance will have dropped quite low, and they may be climbing the walls to lie on the ceiling.

These days when I catch myself playing a Yes, But... game, and I’m the one being the Yes, But-ter, it’ll end up with me aggressively shouting at myself to get off my ‘but’ and assertively pick a yes or no. Solve the friggin’ problem and shut up about it.

Sometimes I solve it by admitting to myself that I did not want to do whatever it was that I was pressuring myself to do thus leading me to pretend that there was this problem and oh, dearie me, I don’t know how to solve it myself… and yet, dearie me, you’re a maniac about solving puzzles and problems, obsessively digging down deep to find the root, the way to untie the knots…

Mars in Scorpio – Going for Goal

Mars, for all of us, is about how we assert ourselves, how we go about getting what we want. It is also about our energy levels.  When you have Mars in Scorpio, you’re particularly driven- not by a concept, but by a desire. The power of emotions is attached to your goals and channeled into asserting yourself and achieving or attaining what it is that you want.

Scorpio is a fixed sign, so her energy is one of endurance. He has incredible internal reserves of energy and his desires are unwavering. He doesn’t care how long it takes. Whilst Mars in Aries will exhaust himself quickly and move on, Mars in Scorpio is in it for the long run and will budget his energy in a more controlled fashion to make it last- no matter how long it takes.

– Jo Tracey Astrology, Mars in Scorpio – Total Control


As most people who have a Scorpio Mars will tell you, our passionate approach to just about everything and everyone tends to scare the crap out of people, especially those people who aren’t comfortable with intensity.

I can tone it down, but it’s never as toned down as I think it is. Even when I think I’m treading lightly, like a fairy tip-toeing on dew drops upon a Spring lawn… other people may feel as though they’ve just been crushed under the wheels of a juggernaut.

Even when I think I’m speaking quietly, calmly, sensitively to the delicate ears of delicate flowers… oh, cazzo di merda, the petals have withered, died, fallen off and scorched the earth beneath them!

When a Mars in Scorpio speaks (or writes), particularly if they have Mars in Scorpio in the 3rd house of communication/self-expression, it can feel as though you’ve been hit by a blunt object and it may take a while for you to recover from the blunt force trauma of it.

We tend to comes across as aggressively assertive even when we’re not being (according to us and our self-assessment of the moment) aggressive or assertive.

When we are angry, passionate, invested in what we’re communicating, then it may feel as though you’ve just been on the receiving end of a lit flame-thrower.

That’s it, I’ve run out of fuel (for now, I make my own, so it won’t take long to refuel)…

If you would like to find your own Mars sign, the easiest way is to pop over to Cafe Astrology: Find Your Mars Sign – there is a long list from 1930 to 2025 and quick easy instructions on how to find your Mars.

If you also want to figure out your AC (ascendant/rising) sign, you’ll need to know your time of birth. Then go over to Astrodienst, click on Free Horoscopes in the menu, then click on Chart Drawing, Ascendant, then click on the option For Guest Users, and input your birth data into their free natal chart generator.

If you don’t know your birth time, it can be quite interesting to peruse the interpretations for each rising sign to see which one you click with, but it’s an imprecise method. This is a quick overview of all rising signs – The Dark Pixie Astrology: The 1st House

Once you know your Mars sign, you might find it fun to check out celebrities who have the same Mars sign (and rising sign, if you know your rising sign). This site makes it easy to do that – Astrotheme: Astrology tool search by planet, sign, house

And now for a song, sung by a Virgo rising Mars in Scorpio 3rd house:

*Featured image is The Combat of Ares and Athena by Jacques-Louis David


  1. I work on being assertive, and sometimes I’m better at it than at other times. I can be aggressive and have been – I’m ex-military and was posted to a war zone; aggressiveness was part of the job.

    My Mars is in Taurus, and in reading the description, I thought yup, that sounds a lot like me. My natural setpoint is laidback and relaxed. Check to see if I’m still breathing. 😉

    I love your soup example. I’m better at saying no to more soup, but I was certainly raised to drink soup until it was leaking out of my ears. It takes a while to realise you don’t have to do that.

    Good post – it was fun looking up Mars. 🙂


    • Thank you, Lynette 🙂

      The soup bit was partly inspired by one of the stories in one of my favourite books – Struwwelpeter: The Story of Augustus, who would not have any soup

      It is fun to explore astrology and see how it overlaps with what we know of ourselves. Sometimes it hits, and sometimes it misses. It’s always interesting when it hits.

      I think Mars in Taurus is an excellent placement for someone in military service – strong, steady, persistent, able to keep going through hell and make it out the other side (possibly carrying a brother on sturdy shoulders).

      Samuel Beckett had Mars in Taurus with Scorpio rising… you’re gifted with the patience to wait for Godot 😉

      “time she stopped
      sitting at her window
      quiet at her window
      only window
      facing other windows
      only other windows
      all eyes
      all sides
      high and low
      time she stopped”

      – Samuel Beckett, Rockaby


  2. I find it difficult to be assertive without being a little aggressive these days, especially with those people in the house I stay. ‘Do you want more soup?’ sounds like when I’m being asked, ‘Do you want more rice? …Please eat more, we can’t keep those’. 😀 Only I won’t be force to finish the food in the end but I shall always be the sinner who throw the food away and ‘remembering the people who are starving out there while I’m wasting food here’ (this must be what’s on their mind and avoiding to feel the guilt thus their reluctance to throw food but yet they always cooked so much) =/

    I’ve been staying in the house for years now. Over time, I noticed that communication between people in the house have slacked, probably due to being too familiar with one another and everyone starts assuming this is that. They can’t seem to hear or maybe just selectively hearing what you say, otherwise could be their ears seriously have a hearing problem. Recently, I witnessed the communication breakdown between the landlady and her sisters which was quite a drama 😮

    These days in the house I talk more loudly and make sure my message is repeated three times before coming to a full stop. Where in the past, I was the soft-spoken everything OK guy. One of sisters asked why I always seems angry/stressed these days, I told her jokingly that I’m having my mid life crisis too 😉


    • Thank you for sharing, Reverist 🙂

      I can relate very much to your tactic of saying your message 3 times. I learned to do that particularly when trying to get through to my mother, because she never listened to anything anyone (including herself) was saying even when she wanted an answer to a question. You had to use your words like a hammer on her head until she showed some sign that it had gotten through. Often she would repeat your words as though she’d just come up with them herself.

      After I’d been with my partner for a while, he eventually asked me to stop repeating myself like a broken record because he’d heard me the first time. It was wonderfully weird to be with someone who actually listened. Took me a long time to break the repetition habit though. I still sometimes do it. I still sometimes do it. I still sometimes do it. Sorry, couldn’t resist 😉

      What did the sister do/say when you said that? It was very witty 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha…I’m the youngest around, unless the nephews/nieces are here. The women here daily are all in/near their menopause stage. So what can they say if I claim mid life crisis? hee

        Mrs Landlady is very forgetful so I need to repeat myself, that made me so long winded which I don’t like but I hate it more when they don’t get the message. I prefer communicating with the nephews/nieces when they come visit sometimes, at least I feel we are on the frequency, they could hear me and I don’t need to repeat or explain some trivial things 😀

        I always joke to Mrs Landlady, if she wants to take me as a god son since she and Mr Landlord are kid-less 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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