An Analysis of Bakugou’s Superiority Complex
I think you’re at least kind of right. Bakugou knows Midoriya has something that he lacks, and that causes him to feel bitterness towards Midoriya. It’s also hard for Bakugou to deal with the idea that Midoriya is more like All Might than he is. Although, I don’t Bakugou ever admired Midoriya back when Midoriya was Quirkless. I think he hated Midoriya because Midoriya makes him feel weak.
I think Bakugou’s hatred of Midoriya comes from him having a textbook case of superiority complex.
A superiority complex is “a psychological defense mechanism in which feelings of superiority counter or conceal feelings of inferiority.” In other words, Bakugou’s narcissism and feelings of superiority are due to him trying to cover for his inferior feelings. When Bakugou is feeling weaker than Midoriya in some cases, he’ll lash out against Midoriya and treat him as inferior in order to protect his feelings of weakness. Whether Midoriya realizes it or not, he picks on Bakugou’s insecurities, and, in order to protect his ego, Bakugou bullies Midoriya and tries to make himself feel superior.
I don’t think Bakugou’s superiority complex has always existed. I think Midoriya simply triggered it.
From when he was a young child, Bakugou has always been praised.
As his mom points out, all that praise for his talents has made him narcissistic.
Bakugou’s feelings of superiority come from all the praises during his childhood. That much is self-explanatory. Because of those praises, he has high expectations for himself.
Because Bakugou was praised for his Quirk and Midoriya had no Quirk, it was easy for Bakugou to come to the conclusion that Midoriya is inferior.
As a result, when Midoriya, someone who’s supposed to be beneath him, tries to help him, it’s a huge blow to Bakugou’s ego. Midoriya is supposed to be a Quirkless loser. Bakugou isn’t supposed to need his help.
Any time Midoriya tries to help Bakugou, it makes Bakugou feel weak. In order to feel less weak and to prove his superiority, he bullies Midoriya and brings him down. A superiority complex exists to cover for an inferiority complex. In Bakugou’s case, his inferiority complex comes from Midoriya making him feel weak and like he has lower self-worth. His superiority complex kicks in when he bullies and brings Midoriya down in order to feel stronger. If Bakugou can keep convincing himself that Midoriya is weak and that he’s superior, then Bakugou can feel strong. The weaker Midoriya is, the stronger Bakugou feels. It’s a vicious mindset that Bakugou develops over the years, and he can’t get over this mindset and acknowledge Midoriya’s strength easily.
Bakugou’s superiority complex is so bad that he even considers losing if it means not having to work with Midoriya. Working with Midoriya is just that big of a bruise to his ego, and it makes him feel stronger thinking Midoriya is not good enough to work with him.
He still has to mentally think Midoriya is a piece of shit even while working with him.
Bakugou has gotten into this mindset where he has to prove he’s better than Midoriya in order to make himself stronger. Midoriya makes him feel weak. In order to combat those feelings, Bakugou has to put Midoriya down.
Midoriya getting a Quirk from All Might and catching up to Bakugou in terms of ability makes Bakugou feel weak. That’s why he can’t accept Midoriya’s strength so easily. Midoriya is supposed to always be beneath Bakugou. When he catches up to Bakugou, that only pisses Bakugou off because that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s a failure on Bakugou’s part to allow Midoriya to catch up to him.
Once Bakugou realizes Midoriya received All Might’s power, he thinks that means there must be something Midoriya has that Bakugou doesn’t. Midoriya did something right while Bakugou did something wrong. Since All Might chose Midoriya, a kid who was always weaker than Bakugou, it makes Bakugou feel weak. This aggravates his inferiority complex. Bakugou feels so weak that he blames himself for getting captured by the villains and leading to All Might’s downfall.
It doesn’t help Bakugou’s inferiority complex when he feels like Midoriya is always looking down on him. He hates it when people do that.
Just a reminder, if people feel weak or incompetent and they let that consume themselves, then they have an inferior complex.
An inferior complex isn’t always conscious. In Bakugou’s case, it was initially subconscious and then became more conscious after All Might lost his powers. His inferiority complex is aggravated by anyone who makes him feel weak. Midoriya especially makes it worse. However, other people have aggravated Bakugou’s inferiority complex as well.
If someone stands against Bakugou, Bakugou wants that person to give it his or her all. If that person doesn’t, to Bakugou, that person is looking down on him and making him feel weak.
Todoroki does just that during the Sport’s Festival.
Bakugou’s superiority complex isn’t the only defense mechanism for his inferiority complex. Often he just gets REALLY PISSED OFF against the people who make him feel weak. For instance, this is what he’s like after his fight with Todoroki.
Bakugou also shuns anyone who makes him feel weak, like Todoroki for example.
There are other smaller examples of other students picking on Bakugou’s inferiority complex. Midoriya and Todoroki are just the big examples.
Not everyone with a superiority complex is as destructive as Bakugou. In fact, out of all the students with an inferiority complex, Bakugou seems to cope with it the worst since he hurts others in the process.
Aoyama is a milder example someone with of a superiority complex. Remember, a superiority complex is simply a defense mechanism for an inferiority complex.
People, like Aoyama, who feel insecure about themselves and let that insecurity consume them have an inferiority complex.
To cope with the inferiority complex, they act more superior. Although, in Aoyama’s case, instead of tearing people down like Bakugou, he simply boasts himself, tries to get attention, and acts like he’s amazing.
Aoyama acts like he loves himself, and he loves the attention. There could be an argument to be made that Aoyama doesn’t have a superiority complex since he doesn’t bring others down in order to make himself feel superior. However, he boasts how amazing he is, gets dramatic, and seeks attention as a way to cope with his feelings of inferiority.
Right now, Bakugou and Aoyama are the only students I can think of who have developed a superiority complex from their inferiority complex.
There are certainly other students who have an inferiority complex. It’s inevitable given the nature of being a hero. Being a hero is very competitive. In order to be successful, students need to stand out from their peers, and their peers in turn will will use their weaknesses against them. Villains also take advantage of any weakness students may have. It makes sense for students to feel like they’re inadequate compared to the amazing talent of their peers or to feel like they’re not as strong as they should be.
Interestingly enough, it doesn’t really look like Midoriya has an inferiority complex. An inferiority complex occurs when people become too focused on their deficiencies and start to feel intense lower self-worth. Midoriya doesn’t have that. Midoriya has usually been pretty pragmatic about his weaknesses and doesn’t let them make him think he’s inadequate or worth less.
Bakugou’s bullying never caused Midoriya to give up or feel worth less. Midoriya has always thought Bakugou is amazing. As a result, Bakugou became a role model for Midoriya instead of someone who pushes him down.
Hearing that Togata could have been the successor for One for All and that Nighteye thinks Togata would make a better successor doesn’t make Midoriya think he is unworthy of One for All. Midoriya still thinks he’s worthy of One for All and will push himself to prove it.
Keep in mind, Midoriya not having an inferiority complex does not mean he isn’t sometimes humble or hard on himself. He’s not cocky. He will have moments where he doesn’t take credit for his achievements or is disappointed in himself. That’s part of human nature.
Here, Midoriya is giving others credit for his achievements.
When he says this, he’s not saying he doesn’t deserve to be where he is or that he’s not deserving of his Quirk. He’s simply giving people who have helped him throughout is life credit. He wants to be the number one hero for their sake as well as his own. That’s not an inferiority complex.
During the moments Midoriya is hard on himself, it’s usually because it’s the rational conclusion, such as in the example shown below.
All Might tells Midoriya that he can only use to five percent of his power. Midoriya reasonably thinks that doesn’t sound like a lot. Midoriya isn’t being unreasonably hard on himself or thinks he’s weak. He’s just coming to the rational conclusion based on what he knows. Midoriya knows he needs to work on controlling his Quirk without breaking his bones. Midoriya feeling like he has a lot to work on doesn’t mean he thinks he’s a lesser being or has low self-esteem.
People having moments where they’re hard on themselves or think they can do better is normal. An inferiority complex is when those inferior feelings happen all the time whether subconsciously or not. Bakugou often feels weak, and this manifests into the angry and mean-spirited behavior we know. Bakugou always subconsciously or consciously thinks he’s weak. It’s a more general feeling rather than one that happens occasionally. Midoriya doesn’t always think he’s not good enough or not deserving. If he’s not good enough in a certain area, then he’ll come to the rational conclusion for that particular area. An inferiority complex is a general feeling of inferiority rather than the occasional moments of feeling inferior. It makes people feel like they’re worth less overall. It’s a neurotic condition, meaning people with an inferiority complex worry frequently about their inferiority, even when it’s irrational or not important. The negative attitudes at times are irrational.
Take Momo’s inferiority complex for example. She is very sensitive to her shortcomings from the Sports Festival. She is very hard on herself for not living up to her high expectations. She even goes as far as saying she “hasn’t left behind any noteworthy results.” Even though Momo is a very rational thinker, this is a VERY harsh criticism on her part and has affected her attitude since then.
Momo’s negative feelings about herself occur when she compares herself to Todoroki. She starts feeling not good enough and loses confidence in herself. An inferiority complex affects the general perception and behavior one has towards himself or herself.
Her inferiority complex prevents her from speaking up about a plan because she thinks she’s not good enough to share her idea.
She thinks so little of herself that she comes to the conclusion that if Todoroki’s plan didn’t work, then hers can’t work either.
An inferiority complex affects the behavior of individuals. In Momo’s case, hers makes her more passive because she feels like she’s not good enough to voice her opinion. In Aoyama’s case, it makes him more self-centered in order to compensate for his inferior feelings. In Bakugou’s case, it makes him become a bully because bringing people down makes him feel more superior.
Midoriya not having an inferior complex makes sense. Midoriya is supposed to be Bakugou’s foil. Bakugou’s weaknesses are supposed to be Midoriya’s strengths.
If both boys have an inferiority complex, then they don’t make that good of foils. While Bakugou has feelings of weakness that he lets consume him. Midoriya doesn’t let his flaws make him feel weak or insecure and tries to push himself to be number one anyway because he believes he’s worthy of being number one.
Keep in mind, not everyone with an inferiority complex lets it hold them back or has harmful ways to cope with the inferiority complex like Bakugou does. An inferiority complex is simply a constant feeling of being inadequate and not measuring up. Some people with an inferiority complex use it to improve the skills they think they lack. It can be a driving force to improve. Bakugou, in a way, has also used his inferiority complex to improve himself. Unfortunately, he also tries to handle his feelings of weakness by lashing out and bringing others down.
The worst way to cope with an inferiority complex is to develop a superiority complex from it. People with a superiority complex still have low self-esteem like others with an inferiority complex. However, they also bring down others in order to cope with their low self-esteem and end up being isolated from people as a result.