Crab mentality

Relationships, emotions

Someone exhibits "crab mentality" if they try to drag people down who are doing better than themselves. A form of "If I can't have it, neither should you" thinking.

Wikipedia says that "the metaphor is derived from a pattern of behavior noted in crabs when they are trapped in a bucket. While any one crab could easily escape, its efforts will be undermined by others, ensuring the group's collective demise."

Live crabs in a bucket

For example, if one person from the family succeeds, the other siblings may become envious and try to undermine their success. A similar effect may occur in friend groups, for example if one friend gets a new job and starts earning twice as much as the other friends.

More lethal examples come to mind. Consider this all-too-common story: a man and a woman break up. The woman commences a new relationship. The man, now bitter, kills his ex-girlfriend because "if I can't have her, no one can".

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