「地獄の轟くん家」 (Jigoku no Todoroki-kun Chi)
“The Hellish Todoroki Family”
I’ve never visited a household that was in the midst of a meltdown. So I can’t relate to the experience Deku or Bakugo had. That said, I absolutely have been in Natsuo’s position of struggling to forgive my father. I’m not going to talk about the episode specifically, rather, I will dive into the sticky situation that has unfolded within the Todoroki family.
I come from one of those fairly typical Asian families. Pop culture has popularised the term ‘Tiger Parent‘. And yup, my father was a tiger parent who never had a moment of weakness, would breathe down my neck and beat me if I ever made mistakes – both relating to wider life and school matters. It freaking sucks. When I was 10, I accidentally shut the car door on my younger sister’s hands. Yes, I was careless and 100% in the wrong. I do not think it justified what ensued which was a beating beyond all beatings I’ve ever had in my life. My father a fully grown man repeatedly punched a ten year old to the floor and kept kicking me extremely hard until I was black and blue with bruises, bleeding from various places and snivelling while begging him to stop and him not stopping until I was well past unconscious. If I’m going to be honest, it has still stuck with me more than a decade down the line.
I eventually outgrew him in secondary school. Kind of hard to hit a boy who’s become way taller and stronger than you. And when it reached this point, my fear faded away and was replaced by an inferno of unresolved anger that raged for 5-6 years. From my father’s perspective, he was right and did it with the good intention of setting me up for success later in life. He refused to admit wrongdoing. He was only doing what he knew – repeating what his mother had done to him back in Asia. And in some ways it’s hard to argue against the methodology when your son ends up going to a top law school in the world (Top 100 to be exact, could have been Top 10 globally if I had scored three marks higher in Mathematics). However, this whole shit emotionally scarred me. Getting beaten is one thing. Getting beaten every day of my life when all these other kids parents loved them and cared for them hurt me to the core. Getting beaten so violently like that one time I shut the car door on my sister’s hand engraved a special kind of hatred in my body and mind. The anger and pain Natsuo and Shoto expressed seriously resonates with me. I can totally understand where they are coming from.
I think it’s key they highlight Endeavour’s remorse. For such a strong and powerful man to be stuck frozen there, unable to retort while clearly carrying acres of guilt helps hammer home just how truly remorseful he feels. That’s it’s bloody genuinely coming from his heart. It reminded me of my father’s remorse and I probably put up this exact same, conflicted expression Natsuo had. I don’t know why it took that specific crisis for my father to step up, what matters is that he did. And better late than never. Which would be the exact message I’d give to Natsuo and Shoto. I completely understand if they’d never forgive Endeavour – I also once firmly believed I would never forgive my father. But I eventually did.
What eventually helped me forgive my father was seeing his love for me in action. Firstly, I recognise he actually changed a lot, the catalyst being our household breaking point – specifically when both my sister and myself were taken out of different classes for breaking down and crying uncontrollably on the same day. That day, a classmate joked to me without intending any harm ‘Your parents don’t love you’ to me. I was left emotionally reeling and ended up sobbing throughout third period Maths until my head of year took me out of class. I think this was the defining point where my father took his head out of his ass so to speak because both of his children had emotional breakdowns during school. He finally admitted he was wrong. It has been a couple of years down the line and I can vouch that he’s come a very long way.
When I was miserable at my university life situation because my degree was a struggle and I felt let down by my primary university social group, he was there to help pick up the pieces gently and prove that he did indeed love me. I will say it felt very jarring, because my father is a man who pretty much never shows any emotion outside of dissatisfaction. If he does care, he likes to demonstrate it through quiet action rather than hugs or verbally. This time, he was very tender and expressed gentle concern – which was completely out of character for him yet appreciated. More recently, he even helped mediate a crisis between myself and my mother in the past two weeks (story for another time). I can definitely say he’s mellowed out with old age and does a bang up job of maintaining the family peace.
Many third person outsiders will say ‘Cut contact with your parents, why subject yourself to a toxic relationship?’. It’s never that simple. To be honest, writing this out, I’m even thinking ‘Why the heck did I even choose to forgive my father?’. Family relationships are complex and you can choose to never see your parents again. Though nothing will ever change the fact that they will always be your parents, and the ones who brought you into this world. And in almost all cases, parents deeply love their children. Even if their intentions can be severely misguided. Every situation is different and every person different too. Mileages may vary. For me, because it feels like my father has made a conscious effort to demonstrate his love, reconcile his ways and change for the better, I felt inclined to forgive him and no longer hold ill will in my heart. I can also see Endeavour’s trying to change his ways too and even if Toya’s death is a lot more unforgivable, I would encourage Shoto and Natsuo to forgive him at their own pace. Life just becomes so much easier once the maddening burden of hatred and misgivings are alleviated.
Anyway, that might have been extremely long but I’ve pretty much gone over everything I wanted to talk about. Thank you very much for your patience in reading through this very personal post, and I hope you all have a lovely week.