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Cancers Are Annoyingly Over-Sensitive Crabs Who Can't Take Criticism

Cancer is an emotional water sign. Those born under it tend to be giant crybabies, despite their tough crab shell.
Illustration by Asli Yazan

Astro Roast is a column in which astrologer Danny Larkin drags each sign, but affectionately!!

Cancer, you’re not the only sign with intense feelings. We all have them. But moody Cancers feel emotions so strongly that they tend to hijack situations whenever they feel they’re having a “crisis,” which is constantly.

For example, a Cancer can never stop blabbering over brunch about how they still feel abandoned, even though their breakup was three months ago. Meanwhile, another friend just got dumped last night. The world would be an easier place if Cancers could simply remember that other people also have feelings—maybe ask everyone else how their weekend was before you plunge into your emotional crisis that everyone has already heard about?


As anyone who has dated a Cancer can tell you, they are moody as hell, and they can be extremely thin-skinned despite their tough crab shells. If some jerk throws out one mean remark, Cancer will feel incredibly wounded, spin out, and spend all night rehashing it. Cancers also tend to overreact when their lovers have bad days. Maybe it’s not about you, Cancer; maybe he’s just constipated.

The secret to dating a Cancer is tell them you believe in them 100 percent and that they are gorgeous, talented, and destined for success. They will perk right up and get so sentimental and saccharine towards that you may feel like vomiting—but at least it will get them to stop being such a crybaby.

Cancers dish but can’t take, and then wonder why people break up with them or pass them over professionally.

In intimacy and in work, Cancers struggle with criticism. We are all human beings, and we all make mistakes. Part of being in a relationship is that your partner is going to call you on your shit when you screw up. Similarly, we all know that our bosses are going to bust our chops when we’re working slowly because a hangover or if we say something stupid at a meeting. Cancers take such garden-variety criticism too personally, and they misperceive accountability as people hating them deeply. This flaw becomes particularly ironic when Cancers overreact and lash out, defensively calling others out without any reservation. Cancers dish but can’t take, and then wonder why people break up with them or pass them over professionally.


The moon rules Cancer. It’s a bit confusing to google more about this because the moon connects with the body, emotional needs, and the mother. That’s a lot. What’s crucial about the lunar aspect is that Cancers want to nurture and be nurtured. As adults, we all must leave the nest and make it on our own in the wild. And that leaves Cancers constantly upset about how they aren’t being coddled more through tough situations.

Cancer is a water sign, and Cancer season coincides with the annual flooding of the Nile in Egypt. This flood fertilized the soil for the year and led to an abundant harvest. This symbolism is crucial for understanding Cancers: They experience emotions as overwhelming floods. On the flip side, however, Cancers are unusually skilled at washing away other people’s pain and at nourishing and fertilizing others spiritually. Cancers need to quit catastrophizing and freaking out over shit constantly, and instead focus on how to be strategic flooders that breach the inner dams and emotional blocks holding other folks back.

Everyone knows the ancient symbol for Cancer is the crab. There’s a lesser known reason for this: In Greek mythology, it’s said that the hero Hercules became a target of the goddess Hera’s ire. (Hera hated Hercules because her husband Zeus had cheated on her with another woman to sire Hercules. She could never forgive this bastard child for existing.)

In her quest for vengeance, Hera had Hercules fight the monstrous hydra; when Hercules began to vanquish this beast against all odds, Hera also sent a giant crab to attack the hero and to interfere with the victory. With some help, Hercules eventually defeated both the hydra and the crab. In spite, Hera had the crab put in the sky, just to show Zeus she never would forget about his infidelity. In ancient literature, goddesses sometimes couldn’t get over stuff, and everyone rolled their eyes at them. There is a bit of Hera in many Cancers: unable to let go of the drama.

Princess Diana is an intriguing Cancer case study. As we all know, Prince Charles had a lifelong love affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. When confronted, Prince Charles reportedly told Diana point-blank, “Well, I refuse to be the only Prince of Wales who never had a mistress.” Now, if Diana had been a Gemini, she probably would have decided Charles is sort of ugly anyways, and that she could play with hotter men on the side. Why didn’t she just keep up appearances, wear Versace, and live in a palace for the rest of her life with no actual problems?

Because Diana was a Cancer, she couldn’t get over the cheating, and she took vengeance on Charles and the royal family, secretly telling reporters about how horribly the Royal Family had treated her. But there was also a positive side: Scorned by her husband, Diana went into Cancer overdrive and used her position to nurture oppressed people. She took her kids out of the palace into soup kitchens, met with AIDS patients when stigma against the disease was at its height, and campaigned against landmines. She broke taboos by speaking publicly about her bulimia, depression, and how Charles's affair shattered her—which allowed everyone in England and around the world to feel a little less shame over being human, too.

Cancer season takes place at the start of summer. This is the time of year when water lilies bloom in ponds. Real ponds in the wild are nasty and impure; this idea of a crystal-clear pond is a man-made delusion. But beautiful water lilies can still flower in this muck. Cancers: Stop perseverating over dirty water, accept that life is not as pristine as you wished, enjoy the flowers that come up, and let it go.