But Cancer is more subtle about it. So, to sum up, we might say that Cancer often finds his entire meaning in life through those people close to him. And something in him, deep down, rebels.
Resentment - quiet, seething, unobtrusive, silent resentment - is one of the greatest emotional problems of all the water signs. In Cancer, resentment can reach a fine art. Somewhere, deep down, among all the loving, sympathetic emotions, is the nagging feeling that you're not really living your own life. This is especially true when Cancer gives and sacrifices, and the loved one isn't prepared to come when the string is pulled at last. That resentment turns into negative criticism. It's an act of vengeance. Remember the tendency water signs have to have fixed ideas buried deep down in their minds? Well, the idea here is: I've given him (or her) everything. Now he owes me something back. And if the gift isn't returned, well, then, he deserves a little knocking back in place.
This may sound a little ugly. It is. But if Cancer can reach the root of his resentment, and act on it - act positively, not with negative criticism - his relationships will remain much healthier and more secure. And acting positively means, not too much martyrdom. Not everyone is a child that needs to be ferociously protected. Some people - perhaps all people - need to be let go once in a while. And Cancer needs to nurture himself, his own needs, his own wishes. The more he does this, the less resentment he'll carry. And then the shadow stays in the basement where it belongs.
Another peculiar facet of the shadow that Cancer can turn against himself is the way in which Cancers eat up popular opinions without checking their facts. Give them one or two pertinent bits of information and they will bring to bear the full weight of their own feelings and prejudices, and pass judgment. Negative criticism also implies judgment. And Cancer's judgment, when it's based on half-digested opinions like this, is likely to be not only faulty, but destructive. It can be called opinionatedness. Listen for the 'They say' or 'Everyone knows.' It's the commonest voice of Cancer's shadow. And the real object of the exercise is: I protect me and mine. Anything outside is suspicious.
How do you deal with a Cancer shadow, once it's let loose? Sometimes it's best to ignore it. After all, it isn't meant with malice. Sometimes it's best to confront it, and bring a little honest truth into the discussion. But most important, it's best to notice it. Those little barbs and inferences, unnoticed, sink in. Cancer has immense emotional power, because he can read the feelings of others so well. And whatever the shadow, the light is there too - the compassion, the subtlety, the gentleness, the caringness. That's worth a lot.