Hobbies Astrology The Libra Dark Side Share PINTEREST Email Print John Rensten / Getty Images Astrology 12 Signs of the Zodiac Basics Trends & Horoscopes The Sun & Sun Signs The Moon & Moon Signs The Houses Love & Compatibility By Molly Hall Molly Hall is an astrologer, tarot reader, and author of "Astrology: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Zodiac." our editorial process Molly Hall Updated September 22, 2019 Libras get painted with a beatific brush, but they are secretly the provocateurs of the Zodiac. Libras make out like they are all love and light, the peacemakers of the Zodiac. A closer look at their dark side, though, reveals that the harmony they create is sometimes imposed in a tyrannical fashion. Like the smile of a predator, it may not mean that they like you. Libra is the sign of the Scales, and that's what Libras do—weigh things. They are watchful of others' reactions and always adapting, like shape-shifters, carefully calibrating their behavior to get a certain response. If that need for balance goes too far, Libras become controlling, sneaky, and subversive. This negative behavior is the result of a Libra gift taken to its extreme—the ability to win others over. Charming Others More than any other Zodiac sign, Libras are people-pleasers and highly tuned in to others. They have the reputation of being manipulative, for they know how to use their charm to get what they want. The young Libra John Lennon, when he wanted a guitar and had no money, won over his Aunt Mimi Smith with kisses on the cheek. In a 1981 clip, she told an interviewer, "He's a bit like yourself, a soft soaper." To soft soap someone is to use flattery and sweet talk to manipulate them. Libras are hyper-aware of their effect on others and have an instinct for what others want to hear. This leads to charges of being fake and makes it hard to know how they really feel about you. As Sylvia Sky writes in her article on the Dark Side Libra, "Like the diet sodas they love, negative Librans are 'artificially sweet.'" It is interesting, too, to think of the fake smile as a kind of "baring of the teeth." In the animal kingdom, that's considered a threat. Libras are a cardinal sign, and their amped-up sociability can be a forceful, even aggressive experience if you're on the receiving end. Libras can control the scene with their friendly chatter, itself a kind of defense. Public Face Vs Private Face Libras may present one side to their intimates, and another to the public at large. Astrologist Sylvia Sky uses the example of Mohandas Gandhi, born October 2, 1869: "Libra shies from conflict everywhere—except within the family. Hero though he was, Gandhi ignored his wife and refused to send his sons to college, disowning his eldest because he got married instead of being chaste; and I guarantee there was as much yelling in his home as in every Libra home. But then if the phone rings, Libra will answer it calmly and sweetly." Some Libras have secret lives that others would be shocked to discover. The Price of Denial Libras are Venus-ruled, and naturally gravitate to what's artful, pleasurable, and makes them look good. The love of leisure can make them decadent and self-indulgent. Libras who deny their own darkness can end up even darker when all that's been repressed finally bursts out into the open. As air signs, Libras are big thinkers, and if they're trying to avoid pain, they'll talk themselves out of dealing with a coming crisis. They can create complex justifications and be blind to the suffering of others when it doesn't fit the picture they want to see. Libras can be scornful at times when topics they deem negative come up. "I'm just a positive person," they'll say. But it can feel oppressive when there are very real problems in a family or relationship and Libras do not want to deal with them. Self-Obsession Libras use their intellect to spar with others, and when they are feeling negative, use words to bend the will of others. Some use their cunning to ingratiate themselves or to achieve a particular goal. In love, a shadow Libra is narcissistic and only out to be adored and have their beauty reflected back at them. They are likely to leave behind a string of broken hearts and be cursed afterward as phony. Some Libras are obsessed with how you make them look, and reject all but the impossible idea of perfection. They also impose this on themselves and may suffer from very high standards, always trying to achieve something that cannot be achieved in real life. Everyday misdeeds can include blaming others to avoid responsibility. Libras are inclined to weave a web of lies if it will help them avoid facing the consequences of their actions.