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Why Do Some People Try To Hold Us Back?

by Afshara 4 months ago in advice
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The reasons behind so called “Crab Mentality”

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

The term crab mentality is originated from the story about “crabs trapped in a bucket”. While trapped, the crabs are unable to escape the bucket as they are continuously dragging back any crab who tries to make it to the top.

This is why crab mentality is a kind of typical behavior, in which a person portrays negative reactions toward those who try to move ahead of them and achieve something great.

The concept can be more clearly expressed by this phrase “if I can’t have it, neither can you”.

People who possess crab mentality might even criticize and harm their own friends and close people if they are doing better in life. The reason behind their crab mentality is merely their resentfulness about their own struggles and inabilities of achieving things.

Examples of Crab Mentality

  • If you are making progress by accomplishing financial and academic achievements in your life, and someone mocks or criticizes you. They do this kind of behavior as they are not achieving the same things in their life.
  • If you are trying to get back into shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle and someone who isn’t able to do so may try to undermine your efforts.
  • How to tell if someone has Crab Mentality

    These are some of the most obvious signs that someone has a crab mentality:

    • They unconsciously react in a negative manner to other people’s success and achievements.
    • They gossip and say negative things about others.
    • They like to undermine other people’s achievements by insulting them.
    • They perceive others as their competitors even though there isn’t any competition.
    • They lack compassion and appreciation for others.
    • They have an inability to collaborate with others effectively.
    • They have deeper insecurities and resentment of their abilities and achievements. Whereas, some might even exaggerate their own achievements and status in order to undermine others.

    How to deal with people who have the Crab Mentality?

    It is not always possible to change the people around us or change our surroundings. Then again, we also do not have to be the victim of our environment or the people around us.

    As James Clear famously stated:

    “You don’t have to be the victim of your environment. You can also be the architect of it… If you want to maximize your odds of success, then you need to operate in an environment that accelerates your results rather than hinders them.”

    Rather than changing other people’s minds and behaviors, we should focus on our own actions. By doing so we can prevent the negative influence of the crab mentality on us.

    In the meantime, we should not be paying attention to their criticisms or comments. Instead, we should focus on our efforts and our personal growth. We also have to accept the fact that the behavior of the crab mentality people is driven by their own insecurity issues. Thus, it has nothing to do with us.

    Final Takeaways:

    We should always try to surround ourselves with people who appreciate and encourage us to achieve personal growth. Rather than being negatively affected by the crab-minded people, we should interact with those who appreciate us to be a better version of ourselves, not drag us down.

    As the Stoic philosopher, Epictetus once stated,

    “The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” And you’re the sole holder of that key. Now, go build your uplifting circle of support, an environment that will allow you to thrive.

    Thank you for reading

    Disclaimer: The original version of this story was published on another platform.

    Link to original version:


    Breuning, L. G. (2019, March 6). When others hold you back. Psychology Today.

    Effectiviology. (2020). Crab mentality: When people pull down those who get ahead.

    Febrian, R. (2021, March 17). How to avoid crab mentality, difficult syndrome seeing others succeed. VOI — Waktunya Merevolusi Pemberitaan.

    Itani, O. (2021, February 3). Beware of “the crab mentality”: How your environment can shape the way you think and behave. OMAR ITANI.

    Socorro, J. K. A. (2020, March 5). Opinions | what is crab mentality? The Sheaf — The University of Saskatchewan Newspaper Since 1912.


    About the author


    PhD Student (Management) | Research Enthusiast | Content Writer | Writing about the things that intrigues my curious mind.

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