“E” is a high school student who often wins competitions and is praised by his teachers. Initially, E’s friends were supportive and celebrated his successes. However, things started to change in the second year of high school. Friends began to be jealous and envious of E’s success and started to say demoralizing and hurtful words. Despite E’s frequent attempts to involve his friends in the competitive activities, they would reject him by saying, “ you’ll win it, anyway!”
Have any of you KALMers had similar experiences with E and are confused with what is happening?
What is Crab Mentality?
Psychology Today reports that “crab mentality”, also known as “crab in a bucket syndrome”, is a term describing the behavior of a group of crabs in a bucket whereby if one crab tries to escape, the others will pull on that crab to prevent it from leaving the bucket. The nature of crabs trying to “hold back” other crabs became known as the “crab mentality”.
Crab mentality also explains the behavior of a person who attempts to break the spirit of others’ attempts to succeed. Moreover, a person with a crab mentality will actively attempt to impede others who are heading toward a successful life.
This mentality can result from a number of factors, such as jealousy, shame, grudge, low self-esteem, fear, even competitiveness. When individuals with crab mentality see others progressing further than themselves they will, either consciously or subconsciously, try to halt the progress. Crab mentality is hence characterized with, “if I cannot succeed, then no one can”.
Tips on Overcoming Crab Mentality
So, what can be done if you are being pulled to the bottom of the bucket by the “crabs”? Here are a few tips from KALM:
Understand that when others attempt to pull you KALMers down to their level, it is a form of defense mechanism. This can also happen when other family members oppose your progress. It is quite possible that they are simply worried that you, KALMers, will leave them after achieving success. For this reason, self-awareness is necessary to better understand this syndrome so that you can make peace with these emotions and maintain your position on ‘top’.
Continue to Persevere
KALMers, continue to persevere and fight! When others perceive that KALMers have done wrong, you are the ones able to determine whether that is true or false. Persevering does not equate to resisting comments and criticisms. However, it is also unnecessary to unquestioningly accept all criticisms especially if they are intended to stunt your progress.
Continue with Self Development
In addition to succeeding through perseverance, another way to get accustomed to crab mentality is to continue to develop your personal skills. Typically, people with low self-confidence will be more readily pulled downwards. To improve your self-confidence, find ways to add value to yourself. For example, exploring new hobbies to perfect existing skills. Thus, KALMers will become stronger and less vulnerable to return to the same level as those who attempt to pull you down.
Keep up Your Spirit
The unwillingness to see others progress is a hallmark trait of crab mentality that warrants attention. When impeding behaviors are enforced on KALMers, be sure to keep up the spirit in performing what you love. Achieving your goals through certain pathways surely require consistency, doesn’t it? If you frequently shift strategies and goals whenever criticisms from others are given, you will create the possibility of being pulled back down. One thing that KALMers must remember is to always consider and implement meaningful advice that aligns with your goals.
Evaluate Yourself When Feeling Unsuccessful
In the pursuit of a career or a goal, you will surely encounter challenges that may lead to unsuccessful attempts, whether at the workplace or within your own family environment. Regardless, each failure is imbued with valuable lessons. Rather than being beaten by failure and allowing others to affect you, it is advisable to perform self-evaluation to understand the causes of failure and learn ways to prevent similar mistakes in the future. Consequently, your confidence may recover and improve your worth in the eyes of others.
If you still find it difficult to deal with friends and family who act like this towards you, don’t hesitate to consult with someone whom you trust. You can also consult with a Kalmselor through KALM app.
Don’t forget to also check our other articles, KALMers! (link)
Writer: Kalmselor Dwi Surya Purwanti, M. Psi., Psikolog (Kalmselor’s Code: DWI-888)
Note: You can counsel with Kalmselor Dwi through KALM by using Kalmselor’s Code: DWI-888
Editor: Lukas Limanjaya
Translator: Jessie Yunus
Nabila Azmi. (2020). mentalitas kepiting, Sindrom Psikologis yang Menghambat Orang Lain untuk Sukses. Diakses pada hari Sabtu tanggal 13 Februari 2021 dari https://hellosehat.com/mental/mental-lainnya/crab-mentality-adalah/#gref.
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