Know When To Say No

I’ve Got Crabs, You’ve Got Crabs, We All Have Crabs

The Crab Effect

That's right!

I’ve got crabs, you’ve got crabs, we all have crabs.


Maybe I should have started out with defining what I mean by crabs.


In psychology terms, there is a behavior called “The Crab Effect.”  It illustrates the selfish, harmful, and jealous mindset of people who will try to undermine others.


It’s so named because of what crabs do when you put them in a pot of boiling water. If a crab tries to escape, the other crabs in that pot will pull the escapee back into the boiling water. If I’m going to die, then so are you.


What a crab really is, is someone in your inner circle who does not support you. They try to talk you out of it under the guise of it’s in your best interest or flat out gives you a hard time. Sometimes it’s jealousy or a fear on their part that you will leave them behind and not need them anymore.


Another type of crab is the online/in-person warrior. They tend to go after anyone they perceive as higher up in the industry food chain than they are. Afterall, it’s so much easier to take someone down a couple of pegs rather than expend the effort to be better than where they are. In other instances, they are higher up in that food chain and want to keep any “competitors” in their place.


I’ve heard advice that you should just ignore them, but that’s easier said than done. What you can do is:


🐾 Set boundaries with friends and family. Let them know this is important to you and if they really cared about your happiness, they will find a way to offer support and constructive assistance. This can be a hard conversation to have. I know exactly how hard this is as I’ve had to have it with my own hubby. He’s gone from being one of my crabs to a wonderful and encouraging support system.  I would list out your reasons and the benefits to all involved and role play with a trusted friend to become comfortable talking about. 


🐾 Get a better inner circle. There are studies that show you are the sum of your 5 closest friends/family. Take a good look at them. Do they have drive and ambition or do they spend their time complaining about how life and (insert person/situation/circumstance) that is holding them back? Network with people who are where you want to be. My own personal coach is always a couple of steps ahead of me and exactly where I want to go. Literally, this will go on in perpetuity. She grows, I grow. I collaborate with professionals who are ambitious.


🐾 Buy a stuffed crab and name it. Put it in a pot that has a lid. Someone in particular giving you a hard time or seems to get joy from making you cry? Put the crab in the pot and put the lid on it. This is a fun visualization exercise. One that I use when the first or second suggestions won’t help.


🐾 Repeat as necessary.


After all, crabs are much better covered in melted butter right next to a corn on the cob than making your life miserable.

BTW Amazon has stuffed crabs that can be delivered right to your doorstep. 


Mary facilitates education and dreams  in the professional pet industry. Talk to her at [email protected] or visit her website at


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