My question is what is the Word or phrase for the following?

a weak person harming another (equally) weak person and both inflicting harm on each other in the process.

Warning: The next part contains f word.

Let me go into a bit of a background. Actually a friend asked me English alternative for a Punjabi saying. If I translate the exact words, it'll be something like this: one hungry person fucks another hungry person and as a result both faint.

  • The blind leading the blind, we say. Only it's not weakness but a disability. Same idea as yours, right?
    – Lambie
    Jul 16, 2022 at 18:18
  • Funny how nobody ever shows up here asking for our help in saying something nice about somebody else. Instead it's always about saying horrible things about something we disapprove of, even though this has never required fancy words to sting the worst.
    – tchrist
    Dec 16, 2023 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


Crabs in a bucket:

A colloquial term referring to the fact that you don't need to restrain crabs in a bucket if there is more than one, as any crab that attempts to climb out will be pulled back into the bucket by the other crabs who are themselves attempting to climb out.

It means that poor or weak people often screw over each other's chances of escaping from being poor or weak, that there isn't solidarity amongst those in difficult situations.


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