Why Do Some People Try To Hold Us Back?

The reasons behind the so-called “Crab Mentality”

4 min readJan 4, 2022


Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

The term crab mentality 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 that 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 a crab mentality might even criticize and harm their friends and close people if they are doing better in life. The reason behind their crab mentality is merely their resentfulness about their struggles and inability 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 behaviour 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 negatively 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 cannot collaborate with others effectively.
  • They have deeper insecurities and resentment of their abilities and achievements. Whereas, some might even exaggerate their achievements and status to undermine others.




Ph.D. Candidate (Mgmt)| Educator |Content Writer | Writing about things that intrigue my curious mind | https://beacons.ai/afshara17