The Crab Mentality. Here is how you deal with negative people who hold you back.

Put ten crabs in a bucket, they will all want to crawl out. Unfortunately, instead of all of them trying to crawl out, they focus on pulling any crab that tries to crawl out. They can easily focus on their way out but choose to pull back that crab that tries to get out of the bucket.

Unless the crab that tries to crawl out fights hard, it won’t move out. Its fellow crabs will rather stay in the bucket and all die than any crab moving out. That is where the term crab mentality came from. In simple terms, it means, if I can’t have it, you can’t have it too.

Hold your peace

We live in a society full of such people. People with a mentality like that of a crab. They will pull you down and hold you back so that you do not progress. They can do it for reasons known to you or even unknown.
To such people, you having something that they can’t have will make them so unhappy in that both of you not having that thing, brings them more satisfaction. So they will do anything to make sure you do not have it.

Signs of people with a crab mentality

They are always comparing their life with yours with an intention of either making themselves better than you or putting you down.

They act like they know everything and do not want to hear your opinion. They are always arguing to win even if they are wrong.

They are selfish with opportunities and knowledge. The fear that any help they can offer to your career will get you past them, makes them selfish and always hesitant to give you a hand.

Always gossiping. They spend a lot of time poking their nose into people’s business to compare them to their lives.

It is always you versus them. They are always competing with you to become better than you. If it means blocking your blessings, they will do it to stay ahead of you.

Very vulnerable to criticism. They will break at any sort of criticism given to them. They will go into defensive mode and do anything to prove themselves right. However, as much as they hate criticism they are always looking out for opportunities to give it.

You or your work will always have something wrong. They will always find something to disqualify you or your work however good it may be.

They are always drawing the conversation towards themselves.

They get so excited about your achievements. The excitement however comes off superficial and overly exaggerated. They unconsciously do this to cover their underlying envy and jealousy.

They lift themselves up at the cost of others and have a superiority complex.

Work hard in silence

Causes of a crab mentality

  • Lack of self-confidence. People with crab mentality want others to also lose confidence by pulling them down to ensure that they not alone.

  • Narcissism, that is extreme self-involvement that makes one disregard others for themselves.

  • The need to curb underlying emotions of envy and jealousy. We all get envious and jealousy sometimes. Its only mature to admit that. What differs is how we respond to it. People with a crab mentality choose to destroy or malice others to alleviate their envy or jealousness.

  • Bandwagon and a herd mentality, sometimes people develop a crab mentality because of influence from the people around them.

  • Insecurities. People have various insecurities and most of the time they try to cover them up by pulling others down. One that cant speak in public will discourage you from trying it.

Ways how people express crab mentality.

People express crab mentality or pull others down in two ways

1. Overt crab mentality

The overt crab mentality is expressed directly with no attempt to disguise it. For example

We all know the Cinderella story. Cinderella’s stepmom and stepsisters block her from attending the royal ball so that the prince doesn’t see her. That was directly done.

You have your book on the front of the shelf in the bookshop. Your jealousy friend comes and removes it. That’s overt a crab mentality.

2. Covert crab mentality.

It will take you extra attention to ever see this kind. Most of the time we never see them coming. We recognize them after falling victim. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Very dangerous. They smile, play, and hang out with us.

We call them friends, siblings, or relatives. They bring you down softly and indirectly. Their intentions are so hidden. They are very tactical in their endeavors.

They covertly slander you.

Forms of a convert crab mentality.

  • That friend always pointing out your boyfriend or girlfriend’s flaws to make you lose interest.
  • That person giving you all kinds of examples of people that failed at what you are doing.
  • That person creating malicious rumors about you to make people hate or distrust you.
  • They reduce your achievements to luck instead of your hard work.

 The harm in a crab mentality

This kind of mentality harms all parties involved. The person with this kind of mentality even suffers more than the person they are holding back.

Harm to the person with a crab mentality.

  • In this world what you give out always comes back to you. When you pull others down, no one will support you when you need it.

  • A person with a crab mentality suffers from the burden of carrying emotional burdens. You can’t be at war with other people’s success and be emotionally stable. A small notice of something good in another’s life will take away your peace.

  • It is hard to reach your full potential if you are always comparing your life to others and only getting envious and jealousy.

  • Loss of self awareness. Because people with a crab mentality are always poking their noses into other people’s lives, they lose track of their own.

Harm to the victim of a crab mentality

  • Sometimes the people that we call friends, colleagues, siblings or parents are the ones with a crab mentality. It is emotionally painful to know that the person holding you back is the one you call a friend, sister, brother or parent.

  • Without enough self belief and self confidence, we sometimes fall for the covert discouragements from people with a crab mentality and give up on the things we could potentially achieve.

  • Some people end up contracting a crab mentality from people that already have it.

How to deal with a person/people with a crab mentality.

People carrying a crab mentality are everywhere. The root cause of this mentality always has something to do with the innate emotions, confidence, and abilities of someone. Those are things we have no control over. That means we can only control our response toward people with a crab mentality to stop them.

So how do we do this?

  • Let your success speak for you. Do not try to explain to these people anything concerning your goals or plans. Go ahead and do them when you succeed they will get an answer, when you fail, you will have learned and avoided regrets.

  • Be positive toward the future. People with a crab mentality want you to view the future as a bank of negative events and results from your efforts. Stay optimistic and hope for the best.

  • Keep doing what you love. If it feels right keep doing it. Do not let anyone tell you can’t when deep down you know you can.

  • Value great friends. If you have those people that see the best in you, appreciate them and keep them around. They are rare to find. You might lose them only to replace them with blood suckers. If you want learn how to make good friends, check out my article of how to make friends.
Value great friends
  • It is okay to fail. One time you will fail at something. The people with a crab mentality will sing songs reminding you that they warned you.  Understand that failure means learning. And just because you failed doesn’t mean their intentions were right with you. Fail forward. Get up and show them you are okay with failing because winning comes after failed attempts.

  • Do what you love and love what you do. It is easy to talk you out of something you are not passionate about. When I was training to become a news anchor, the studio director did all sorts of things to frustrate me out of my dream. From telling me straight up that I can’t to making up stories to get me fired. I let him be, stayed the course and trained harder until I became one.

  • Be your self. Everyone has a different perception of you. Most people see your life through their life lenses. Because one thinks its impossible for them  to write a book they will talk you out of the dream of you becoming an author.

  • Hold your inner peace and gut feeling in high regard. Once again if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If there is a burning desire and a fire pushing you to get it, go get it. Do not stop just because someone said no, when everything inside you says yes.

  • Check yourself. Sometimes we are surrounded by the exact kind of people that we are. Do you have a crab mentality? If you notice that people around you have that kind of mentality, chances are you might not be any different. Get it worked out of you.

  •  Have faith in your abilities. Self confidence is a very important value in life. If you cultivate it in you, it will give you faith in yourself to achieve your aspirations.

  • Conceal your plans. If you notice that someone or people around you have a crab mentality, keep your plans a secret, work on them until their fruits can not be hidden.

  • Develop maximum self reliance so you can rely more on yourself than the people around you whose intentions you may not truly know.

  • Aim higher than they can see. If you notice a person with a crab mentality is trying to bring you down, get your plans and goals beyond what they can see. When the studio director at the Tv station was giving the boss all kinds of reasons to rule me out, I stopped training for a job at that station. I then started training for one with another Tv station. That meant I had to worker harder. In his crab mentality mind, he thought I was training for the job where he had the ability to fail me, in my mind I was training for where he couldn’t influence. If there is someone is stopping you from getting a promotion, make plans, work hard and buy the company. Yes, you can.


Achieving that which you desire takes a journey full of challenges and complications. Among those challenges are the people around us. You have to be psychologically and physically strong to keep the fight going. Once you withstand the psychological bullets shot towards you, you will get where you plan to be. People around you are full of fears, insecurities, pain, traumas, and negative experiences we do not know of. They unconsciously project these fears on you. Because someone failed at singing, they believe that you too should fail so you can remain on a levelled ground. Not everyone should advise you. Your abilities are known to no one but you. Once you figure out a person with a crab mentality, run away from them. If you cannot, try to always control how you respond to their attempts. Spread love. How do you deal with a person with a crab mentality?

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