Anime Therapy with Bakugo

There’s a tik tok series that I’ve become obsessed with lately because it’s kind of living my fantasy: The Cece Counselor tik toks, (I will link one of the videos at the bottom if you want to check out the creator.)

After watching all the videos, I decided that only thing it was missing was more time to talk about the issues, since in a 2 minutes segment, you really can’t get that far. And thus this idea was born.

I’m getting into the Therapy session of one of my faves, Bakugo Katsuki.

So, the way I thought I’d structure this is to lay out the issues CeCe came up with, then the events of the show that back up and explain the issues, and then the answers that I or a therapist might be able to give Bakugo to help.

9Ideally, since these are real life issues people have, a person would be able to insert themselves into the place of the character and see it their way.)

Let’s get started:

List of issues Cece provides

Massive emotional and mental trauma

Inferiority complex/superiority complex

Villainous and violent

Hating yourself/Feeling that you’ll not be good enough to be a hero

Lasting Trauma from villain attacks

Lack of Emotional Availability for Friendship

If I’m going to do this right, I better define a few terms, it often surprises me how outside the circle of my church which focus a lot on emotional health) not a whole lot of people know these terms.

  • Trauma:
  1. an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.
  2. the psychological injury so caused.
  • Inferiority Complex:

 “An inferiority complex is an intense personal feeling of inadequacy, often resulting in the belief that one is in some way deficient, or inferior, to others.

An inferiority complex may cause an individual to overcompensate in a number of ways…

It may also cause an individual to be prone to flashy outward displays, with behaviors ranging from attention-seeking to excessive competitiveness and aggression, in an attempt to compensate for their either real or imagined deficiencies.” (Wikipedia)

  • Superiority Complex:

A superiority complex is a defense mechanism that develops over time to help a person cope with painful feelings of inferiority. Individuals with this complex typically come across as supercilious, haughty, and disdainful toward others. They may treat others in an imperious, overbearing, and even aggressive manner.

In everyday usage, the term “superiority complex” is used to refer to an overly high opinion of oneself.” (Wikipedia)

Guess CeCe called it (I’d love to know if she just Googled this stuff before making the tik tok like I just did for my post).

I love psychology and the study of emotions, whatever the name for that is (I looked it up, its called Affective Science, interesting term isn’t it?)

I agree with CeCe’s assessment, when she says he is neither villainous or violent, but has “massive emotional and mental trauma.”

So le’t get into that.

Disasters

Bakugo, you certainly have some trauma from getting attacked by villains, most notably from getting kidnapped. What bothers him the most is not what happens to him (though he is clearly scared) but that his hero, All Might, loses his power during the rescue mission. You are not strictly the reason he lost it, but you thinks you are.

It breaks you to think that your hero lost his power trying to save you, when he spent so much time trying to be strong enough to never need help.

Family

Your mom, though not all bad, has no real sense of your emotional weaknesses, and blamed you for getting kidnapped, saying if you hadn’t been so weak, it wouldn’t have happened.

(I believe this is her way of trying to humble him, as she is aware of his pride and jerkish behavior, and says he is fearless. Can’t imagine where he got the aggressive behavior and inability to have a normal conversation from…)

I could relate to that, I’ve had people try to humble me in exactly the same way, if I had ten bucks for every time I heard “You’re brilliant, but too touchy, and unteachable and narcissistic” from my father, and his friends…

My mom’s way of helping this was to tell me “I don’t think you’re brilliant/highly intelligent, special, etc.”

So, yeah, I get your complex a little.

Environment

(I will have to drop the 2nd person approach for this part since it’s more about society)

I Bakugo’s been “Crushed by expectation”, hero society glorifies quirks so much, we’re shown that when everyone praises his quirk, he gets the idea that there will be no one more amazing than him. That idea gets fed by his spineless followers all throughout school and middle school. However, clearly not without some knowledge on is part that it could be shattered. His fear of that upon coming to UA becomes apparent.

Bakugo may be a bit stubborn (okay, a lot stubborn) but he’s not stupid. He knows that more powerful people exist than him, that if he’s not trying his hardest, he could fall behind. He trained for years before entering UA to get good enough to be a hero. His desperation to stay on top fuels his bragging through the sports festival and all subsequent conflicts we see. To the point where he doesn’t want to accept the medal because Todoroki was not trying his “hardest”.

They say don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Like it or not, Bakugo’s whacked out ways get him results, and if Endeavor is any indication, that is all the majority of people really care about. Not how good you are as a person underneath that power.

To add to the pile of things that contribute to his complex, he also gets victim-blamed by the media and some of the hero students for being targeted, they say it was his personality.

All Might points out later that the villains grossly underestimated Bakugo’s heart and spirit. I’m sure Bakugo feels all the insult of the villains thinking he would ever agree to join them.

All Might is the only one, other than Aizawa, who seems to see that Bakugo has a lot more to him than anger and violence, and through their help, Bakugo has started to believe that about himself too.

Now that we have the reasons for his issues laid out, let’s talk solutions:

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in a year of therapy, inner healing, and frustration, it’s that there is not a single one moment where you realize the truth and your issues shatter.

You have several small moments or larger moments of something breaking, some new understanding, and new freedom, like climbing a stair, always a little higher, sometimes you take two steps up instead of one… but you are far from the top still.

I am neither qualified to answer all Bakugo’s problems fully, nor can they be, in my opinion, all answered by a human.

Many times, I’ve had the biggest breakthroughs when I was talking to God, one on one, and listening closely.

But sometimes, a little perspective can help open that door, so I wanted to start there:

How to begin change

When I’ve written about Bakugo’s character in a story setting, I’ve found the show’s method to be the most effective. Building relationships with people who he can see as equals is the healthiest, fastest way to help him change.

What is perhaps missed by the fans is the key to why some people can get close to Bakugo, and others can’t.

When Kirishima starts to be friends with him, it kicks off because Kirishima says that Bakugo is really saying he has faith in their classmates, and that is “thinking like a man.” Which is of course, his highest form of praise.

I don’t ship them, but I do Bro-ship, it’s just too wholesome. It takes quite a while for Bakugo to be able to return any positive feedback to Kiri, but eventually, in season 4, he succeeds. He also acknowledges their friendship at other times.

Bakugo has pretty big trust issues. He doesn’t like having blind fans even if he tolerated it in school. And it’s imperative for him to feel people are not afraid of him before he softens up at all.

I’ve been told I’m intimidating because of my intelligence and my confidence. I hate it. To me, it seems like an excuse. I don’t find people intimidating who are smart or confident, I actually am drawn to them.

Being friends with other confident people has done wonders for my self image. I don’t think I really began to have self esteem until that happened and people encouraged me. All I heard at home was I was ugly, annoying, difficult, or just average at best. What I heard from outside was just the opposite, people said I was sweet, funny, brave, and beautiful.

Sort of Bakugo’s situation, but I see why he has a hard time accepting it. It’s easy to think people might just find you scary. I also have a history of somewhat aggressive behavior, though nothing like what you get in trouble for at school. I learned to be more considerate, but developing that fear that people were just scared of me became a problem.

The best help for isolation, if you’re the type who people find scary, is to seek out circle of people who are not unhealthy, but not easily intimidated. Drama and Sports were good venues for me, being loud and energetic there was not really an issue. I got more used to it.

But it can really be anywhere, it may seem hard at first, changes are anyone with this problem has been surround by timid/insecure people most of their lives.

So, more you could say to Bakugo:

The truth is, a lot of it isn’t even about you, the person, being scary.

I’ve realized over time that people who are insecure already will blame you for stepping on their issues just by not having them. I once got bullied for doing something right after someone else made a mistake.

(This happens to Bakugo also, when one student form Shiketsu high, who clearly has a massive complex of his own, blames him for being a “Beast” as he says.

I find Bakugo is often blamed. I mean, would what he says really bother people if they didn’t take it a certain way? Some of it is intentionally mean, but other times he’s just saying something that’s true, in the least delicate way possible. If it wasn’t true, would they be offended?)

It’s always tricky to get offended by the truth and then blame the offender. No matter how much you criticize their approach, they were still right, and how do you get away from that?

Positive affirmation is about the only way to help Bakugo’s complexes also. But, having had at least one of both of those myself, I think there’s more to it.

Personally, I grew up getting affirmed when it was useful for my dad to butter me up. Or to soften the blow of what was otherwise a sickening tear-down fest where I was put in a very unfair position. I’ve ended up with a real problem receiving praise after that. (Can you relate?)

Real Talk

If we were to be brutally honest about the home situation, and the hero course, then what I’d tell Bakugo and any one else with verbally abusive parents) is this:

You can try and try to be good enough for them, and you believe you never will be, and you are right.

You absolutely will never be good enough for someone who demands more of you than you could ever give them.

Who expects you to never make a mistake, and doesn’t really define what mistakes are.

You will never be good enough for someone who disapproves of you more because of their own pain than because of anything you ever did.

And you’ll never be good enough for a world that is more interested in glam and glory than they are in being real and authentic.

No one can really be a flawless plastic image, and even perfection, if it were Real, would not satisfy people who want a perfect Fake Image. Real does not interested the world.

We play ourselves, you know. We know it will never be enough, but we can’t seem to resist the temptaion to try anyway, in that endless cycle. It hink that’s why Jesus warned us not to seek the praise of men, and to not love our family more than Him.

You can never be enough for your family if they are toxic, but you can be enough for God, He knows exactly what to expect of You at all times.

It’s funny that, though God only ever asks us to do what is possible for us with His help, while people often ask us to do what is utterly impossible, we prefer to try to meet their standards and shy away from God’s.

Helping

So, I actually receive it best when people point out to me upfront that I should just take the compliment. Like that bit or realism helps me understand what they mean. I need it made clear to me why I am being praised, I guess. I have learned to trust people mean well most of the time, but from close family, I still have issues with trust.

I think that’s why you (Bakugo), also respond best to praise that is given for a clear reason, [though, if you know or are a Bakugo, be careful about this. Don’t ever say “I am praising you because I want you to feel good”, phrasing it like that also sounds manipulative.

Giving a reason has to be down carefully, preferably almost so it’s not indentifiable as doing that.

This is a lot of work, and you can’t spend all your time catering to people’s issues, but in my experience, just once or twice with the same person usually gets the message across, and they will start trusting you. ]

Setting people up to fail

Another way you mishandle trauma is by testing people. I do this too, oh boy do I ever!

You are aggressive to see if people will run away. You’re not exactly subtle about that fact. Really, it’s astounding no one around you has caught on to why you acts this way.

But the very reason the guys are drawn to you is because it challenges them, luckily, they are grateful for that instead of resentful.

Still, it should be addressed.

There are many people out there who will hurt you or will try, and you should learn how to spot that early one, BUT, not everyone wants to hurt you.

Many people don’t hurt other intentionally. Many want to be kind, and many even want to help others heal.

While you cannot trust everyone, you should trust someone. People don’t all deserve to be treated like the bad guy.

The best friends will understand if you sometimes get triggered, but they cannot be your punching bag either. If they forgive you, take that as motivation to improve toward them because you got a second chance.

You will make more than one mistake while you are growing, but let the mistakes be the kind that happen because you were trying, not because you were running from it. Any real friend will forgive those mistakes. If they don’t, they are not really your friend.

Being the best

Improvement is not about being the best just to win, though that’s nice. It’s about enriching your life and other people’s.

We don’t try to get better to earn acceptance, no one will ever accept you based on earned merit, people assign value to you if they have the right heart, or they never will. The good opinion of worthless people is just as worthless as their character.

We improve because it’s the right thing to do, for the people around us, for ourselves, for God I think. Because being healthy is the natural way to be, what we are designed to be. Not because it’s a competition, though think of it that way if it helps you, just doesn’t think that mean others should lose.

[Therapy would probably benefit someone like Bakugo because he is so set on self-improvement, it’s actually canon in CeCe’s series that he comes in like 9 times a week just to get better at it. One of his best traits is his desire to be the best version of himself he can be, people blame him for not dealing with his issues, but I ask, was he ever given the change to?

Looking at the actual mental health care on the show (next to none), while Deku is allowed to break bones to fight, and Kaminari to short circuit his brain, while Iida tried to kill a guy and no one really calls him on it after an initial reproach from Todoroki… yeah, I’m not betting that Bakugo’s ever had access to professional help–or even regular help.

Plus his mom basically spells out of us that his home environment only breeds issues for him, rather than being an escape from pressure.

Given the chance to improve, I actually find it easy to believe Bakugo would go to therapy and try hard at it. Though no doubt he would fight with the counselor.]

Truth be told, I have had to restrain myself from snapping at my life coach also since my natural response is to get defensive when my issues are brought up.

In the end, you want to root for the person who has problems but learns and grows form them, than the one who seems fine, and just stays the same. People who seem fine are never actually fine.

But I’d like to add something to all this that I think will be uniquely my perspective.

Therapy is just not the answer.

It would help, undoubtedly, but I don’t think it will make you into your best self.

The best therapists know how to encourage you and help you take steps to fix your life outside of the office.

I think therapy would help identify the causes of the issues, but how do you actually fix them?

Letting people in is probably the best human solution there is, good thing you’re already doing that.

But I’d go a step farther.

I really think only God can do some things.

The worse of mental issues is that you are always alone with them at some point. You can build up a support system so that in your darkest moments, you have back up to call in, and I found that very helpful.

But there are hundreds of moments in a month, sometimes a week, where I am doing something else, or alone for a period of time, and that is when I get attacked the most with anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and anger, sometimes.

Bakugo admits to Deku that he’s had stuff playing on loop in his head, telling him it was his fault, and he should have been stronger.

For me, though it’s hard still, at least I never have to be alone with my thoughts.

All the time I’ve gone through this hell on earth that is trauma, I’ve had two voices in my head. One always telling me my worst fears will be realized and I am a monster, the other, speaking reassurance, Love, and that I am not what I think.

I have wondered which I will listen to. But in the end, I always choose the Good One. Slowly, the other voice sounds less convincing and weaker.

I can’t imagine what I would be like if I had only my own voice to put against the darkness. Some people get by on that somehow, but just barely.

I found Bakugo an inspiring character actually, an encouragement to be as strong as I can be, and not feel ashamed or like I should hold back. I could wish more people thought like him.

In the end, you want to root for the person who has problems but learns and grows form them, thant he one who seems fine, and just stays the same.

True Acceptance

One more warning: When I hear that, I don’t take it in, I am often a prisoner of doubt.

And Bakugo is too. He blows off All Might’s praise because he just can’t believe it… yet, hearing it still changes him, maybe a little part of him holds onto the hope that he can be that person, someday.

I’ve learned about both already are far more the person you want to be than you think, and yet you think too small at the same time. We set ridiculously low bars for ourselves.

Bakugo’s self doubt is only going to be cured by taking many small steps toward believing. I was happy to see him do this in season 4 with the remedial training and encouraging one of the bratty kids.

Me? I am starting to try, I’ve been thinking of more ways to do it.

We’ll work on it together Bakugo.

(Yeah, I know that was cheesy, but sometimes a fictional example can be easier to handle than real one, we tend to question real people’s motives far more)

And that’s how I’d conclude Bakugo’s therapy: Sometimes what you really need to hear is that who you are, flawed as it is, is something people very much need, and you have a very important thing to contribute to the world and your friends, if you would not give up.

And that you are more than talent and strength, you are also compassionate. When you are strong to build others up, you are the strongest there is.

And that was installment one of Anime Therapy, brought to you by Natasha, hope you liked the new style I was trying out for the post, please comment if you had any questions or ideas to add to this discussion, or any other characters you’d like to submit for further consideration.

I will probably do ones from MHA, Naruto, and Fruits Basket mostly, I’ve found those to have the most realistic characters. But hey, I could throw in Love is War, or Lovely Complex, if I’m in a lighter mood.

So, apparently it was a mile marker on WordPress to receive 1, 337 likes…kind of a random number, but I did! Yay! Thank you all for the continued support.

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Link to CeCe’s videos