Crab mentality

Crab mentality

Crab mentality describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase "if I can't have it, neither can you." The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs in which one tries to escape over the side, but is relentlessly pulled down by the others in the pot.

This term is broadly associated with short-sighted, non-constructive thinking rather than a unified, long-term, constructive mentality. It is also often used colloquially in reference to individuals or communities attempting to "escape" a so-called "underprivileged life", but kept from doing so by others of the same community or nation attempting to ride upon their coat-tails or those who simply resent their success.

It describes a selfish and desperate lust to pull other people down, denigrating them rather than letting them get ahead or pursue their dreams. It is an unwillingness to allow someone to get out of dire or bad life situations, often being foiled by friends and family members who keep sucking them back in. This trait can strike at several levels of life, like in office environments, particularly on promotion. It is a reflection of the famous saying “we all like to see our friends get ahead, but not too far ahead.”

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