In the Deaf community, there's usually some form of "Crab Theory" happening.
First, let me explain what that is:
"The crab theory is based on the metaphor of what happens when you put several crabs together in a bucket. The crabs crawl over each other, trying to get out of the bucket, and in the process, none of them escape because they keep pulling each other back down."
Deaf "Crab Theory" Examples
The "crab theory" is used in the Deaf community to describe the tendency of some Deaf people to criticize or put down the successes or achievements of other Deaf people. It may take several different forms: malicious and negative gossip, grudges, social rejection, etc.
Let me list some examples:
How to Fight "Crab Theory"
First, before you can break it, the Deaf community needs to be aware of it. Often this habit is learned and internalized and is "normal" to do. Others just go with the flow and believe and agree with their friends.
Dr. Jaime Wilson, a Deaf Psychologist explains that a good way to stop crab theory is Mindfulness Therapy.
"Mindfulness therapy will encourage you to have the experience and understand your own feelings...You learn the technical skill of recognizing the feeling before your action".
So, breaking the crab theory mentality starts with you. You need to break the habit of "pulling others down" or stop joining and encouraging others to do it.
Now, I know it's hard for organizations and clubs to arrange workshops on teaching mindfulness, much less find a qualified therapist who can sign. Instead I suggest:
Help Others Out of the Bucket
For those who have crawled out of the bucket - became successful in your life, do turn around and give a helping hand to those in your Deaf community. Offer them employment, internships, education opportunities and more.
Now, do be careful because there'll be a greedy few who will bleed you dry - energy, time, and resources. Do help, but with boundaries.
Successful Deaf people have turned around and helped their Deaf community, here are a few examples:
Now I want to give encouragement to those feeling the pinch (heh). If you're reaching for a goal, have reached your goal or are just being harrassed by others in the Deaf community.
That quote is the absolute truth! If your "group" constantly belittles you, tells you "you can't" or make you feel bad about yourself in any way - are NOT your group! There's a difference between negative critique and helpful advice. Some may try to offer advice how to improve yourself, but if your mindset is negative you'll see that as criticism, so learn the difference and see where you really need to look.
If this gets too much, you may need to find a different social circle. I know this is very hard in a Deaf community, but you got to think about yourself first.
Keep progressing in your life, improve yourself, your situation, your job, your life goals. Any progress is good progress! Think of it this way, while you're progressing slowly - you're still going faster than all the Deaf gossipers still sitting at the table complaining. Hmm?
Here's one last encouraging video:
I'm rooting for ya!