If you’ve ever had to deal with a child who is having a tantrum, then I don’t need to tell you: it can be the worst.
Try to pick up the child and physically move them, and they may feel heavier than normal. If the child is a little older, you might try to reason with them, often without success. Suddenly that child is an immovable object blocking the path to wherever you want to go. They don’t listen to logic or reason, and they don’t budge. It’s like a force takes over.
You can change the situation only when you understand what’s really behind the tantrum:
A desire for power or control.
The child didn’t get what they wanted. They may feel like their world is being run by adults and they have no power. So they are trying to seize it where they can.
Of course, the child may be right. But if you can find ways to help the child feel a bit more in control, if you can help the child feel a little empowered, then things start to move. And if you play it right, you can actually create a profound moment for healing — for both you and the child.
Tantrums can be magical opportunities. But you have to understand what’s going on.
I picked up this magic trick last year when I expanded my coaching practice to work with families, helping parents interact better with their kids to facilitate behavior change and resolve tantrums.
I don’t have kids of my own, and in fact hadn’t worked with children in this way before. So how did I discover this?
Because I work with human beings who are navigating transition, change, and uncertainty. And because this dynamic is not unique to children.
Adults fall into these same patterns.
What Adult Tantrums Look Like
You didn’t get something you wanted, or things didn’t go your way. Perhaps you have a personal experience or you read things in the news that cause you to feel powerless or like you have no control — not uncommon, especially over the past few years.
As an adult, you may have learned not cry in public or stomp your feet on the ground. You may be softer or less forceful in your language.
Instead of going with the flow, you demand things with your spouse or kids or colleagues play out a certain way. Perhaps you create strict rules for yourself. You may stubbornly refuse to do certain work — even the work you know you need to do to get what you want.
The details may be different, because you’re not a child. But don’t fool yourself:
You’re still having a tantrum.
As part of that tantrum, you’re in a power struggle, in search of control.
On the surface, it may look like you’re in a power struggle with another person — a third party who had nothing to do with whatever is happening right now in your experience. Maybe it’s your boss, your spouse, your kids, your friend, or the driver who is driving in front of you at 5 miles per hour despite a clear road.
The Power Struggle Under The Surface
Whoever that third party is doesn’t even matter, because under the surface you’re in a power struggle with yourself.
It’s natural to have goals, and to want things to happen by a certain time frame or in a specific way. There are people in every corner of the internet telling you how they built a massive business seemingly overnight, or lost all their excess weight in a few weeks. The job of marketers is to make you want something and feed you the belief that you can have it instantly.
So when what you want doesn’t happen in the time frame you want it to, it’s natural to feel disillusioned. It’s normal to feel a loss of control or power.
Noticing that this dynamic is playing out is half the battle.
Awareness is the first step to change.
Cultivating that awareness is at the heart of today’s big square between Jupiter and Pluto.
Jupiter Square Pluto: How Do You React to Tension
Today, Jupiter, just over the threshold in Taurus, squares off against Pluto, which is retrograde in the first degree of Aquarius.
Jupiter is the planet of abundance and blessings. It wants to say YES to everything we want. It’s transit through Taurus, a sign of material possessions, money, and what we value — promises to bring us growth through expansion.
Pluto is the planet of transformation, also known as the Lord of the Underworld. Among other significations, Pluto speaks to power dynamics.
A square is an aspect that creates friction, or resistance.
It’s our nature to want it all, on our time line, and without having to give up anything.
At the same time, expansion and growth require change. Taurus is a fixed sign that resists change. And in Taurus, things move slowly.
For all we want growth, and despite the blessings that expansion bring, growth and expansion can generate discomfort. And they rarely happens on our timeline.
Coming at the very beginning of what promises to be an auspicious, but slowly unfolding, year, Jupiter square Pluto asks us to confront how we react when we don’t get what we want, or when we don’t get it on the timeline we desire.
How does this impact your sense of power and control? And how do you respond to that feeling?
When you feel powerless and out of control, how do you try to regain your feeling of power? Do you have a tantrum? Do you blame others?
Many astrologers treat square aspects as “bad.” But nothing is purely good or bad. It’s more accurate to describe squares as aspects of tension.
If we can see our patterns and learn how to resolve the tension, it can open the door to the success we desire.
Crisis can lead to breakthrough. When you can see your patterns, they lose their power over you and you become empowered to take new actions.
On the other when you keep those emotions stuffed underground, in the realm of the subconscious where Pluto reigns, you might tend to overreact or exaggerate the perceived threat. Feeling out of control, you might tend to try to claim control by steamrolling over people who disagree with you, or asserting your beliefs as the only “truth.”
Growth Through Awareness
Ultimately, the catalyst for all growth and change is awareness. Coming at the start of Jupiter’s year in Taurus, this square between Jupiter and Pluto sets us up to excavate the patterns that keep us stuck so we can find the empowerment we need to proceed on the path of growth.