‘In 1973, Dr. Alexander Smoagsburcher through meta-analysis of the prefrontal cortex discovered a diagnostic disorder, thus named Smoagsburcher’s Syndrome after him. Susceptibility to Smoagsburcher’s is hereditary; however, it also arises in its victims from particular traumatic events. For me, it is especially childhood related, but it has sometimes accelerated at other times in my life. Those especially at risk are first children whose parents do not make much of them and accept their behavior unconditionally, and, second, the children who were afraid of doing something wrong out of fear of physical parental discipline. I was traumatized as a child by parental disapproval and my fear of my parent’s physical punishment. I had a predisposition to do what I wanted to do and my parents often said, “No.”
As you read this, I understand that you might be thinking that doing wrong is sin, sin displeases God, and results in death. Those are the worst things that can happen to you. My parents thought that too and wanted to keep me from sin and its consequences. Sin should be punished and fear is good, the fear of God the beginning of wisdom, and the fear of godly parents a subcategory of fearing God. That would be living by faith though. What I’m talking about is science, living by science. “Science is real” reads the leftist value sign. A scientist, and then others, backed by peer review studies, say I was damaged, resulting in Smoagsburcher’s. The theologians, the Bible, the scientists, they can’t all be right. You cannot underestimate the power of a victim.
My parents are still living, which sometimes triggers my Smoagsburcher’s. I’ve read that it would be good to form a boundary for my mental health. The sound of their voices reminds me of being told what they wanted me to do, very often called transactional love by experts, technical language invented by scientists. If I did what my parents said, good treatment, and if I didn’t, bad treatment. I always knew I would be treated differently if I didn’t fulfill my end of the bargain, an expectation of obedience. There is still behavior that I revert back to, that my parents taught me according to this transactional relationship. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and then tamp it down and go back to doing what I want to do. The stress of Smoagsburcher’s is gone.
Smoagsburcher’s causes a stress reaction, even without the trigger. Early manifestations of this stress I’ve witnessed from children at supermarket checkouts, when they reach for an item on the shelf, and their parents say, No. I don’t scream anymore. Maybe I should. It could release the stress, in a sense, ventilate. I had fear of my father especially, what I now know was trauma. It kept me from doing many things that I wanted to do, but I didn’t want to face the punishment. My mom didn’t have the strength to inflict as much pain, and I say that respectfully, not as a sexist. I didn’t hear the word “trauma” for most of my life except for emergency medical technicians in ambulances, dealing with severe physical injuries, but since doing further reading, looking for a better explanation, I now know it’s trauma. Why? The experts tell me that, and by experts I mean people who write on psychological issues on the internet and in self-help books. What I know for sure is that whatever I do, it’s not my fault.
I’ve found popular music is very helpful, because many secular entertainers had tough childhoods too. They express that in their music in a way that I really relate with. The most authentic artists are those who can communicate to their fans the same kind of feelings they’re having. Popular music serves as a kind of therapy for my Smoagsburcher’s. It says to me exactly what I want to hear. When I start to feel the stress of obligation, I turn on a tune and I’m back to my own self again.
It’s painful, but I recall as an older teenager, going to a department store with my father to purchase a pair of blue jeans. I’m picky about my blue jeans. It took me two hours, and he stood there the entire time, waiting to make the purchase, glancing at me, I know, through judgmental eyes. Those eyes were eyes of hatred, so I felt stressed the entire two hours it took me to pick out just the right jeans. A few times, he asked, “What about these?” I knew exactly what he was doing. He looked for blue jeans, actual blue ones. I wanted something less than the traditional, more something that looked a little used, worn out, or what I like to say, authentic. This is very hard for me to talk about, but you, whole world, need to know, not as a basis for doing only what I want to do.
When it was time to buy my first car, my dad rented a car, and let me drive to various dealerships. I liked to drive slow in the fast lane. Everything in my father’s body language said he rejected me. He was against my philosophy for driving. He said in a very calm voice, but I could tell how angry he was, “Could you drive in the slow lane, unless you’re going to pass someone?” I just kept driving in that far left lane. I knew what I wanted to do. I heard him, but I just kept driving in the left lane, until finally I could tell it was coming. I knew it was coming. He raised his voice and said, Get out of the fast lane! That statement, “Get out of the fast lane!” Said in a raised voice. I’ve never gotten over that. Sometimes I can’t stop myself from reliving that moment, I’m in my own car and I have to stop, pull over, so I can spontaneously regurgitate on the side of the road. I breathe into a paper bag that I always have in my glove compartment, to keep myself from hyperventilating.
Not everyone has Smoagsburcher’s, and for a long time, I was just ashamed of this condition. I didn’t want to admit I had it or tell anyone about it. It was like I had a big “S” tattooed on my forehead for Smoagsburcher’s. I was in a state of denial. Rather than self-medicate, as some do with alcohol and drugs, I dealt with it in other ways. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, far away from people who were the source of the problem for me. Then I wouldn’t have to be under their judgment for just being me.
It’s something I don’t like to admit, but it helps to know that whatever I do isn’t my fault. I’m a victim, first of a hereditary disorder and then a traumatic childhood. I’ve learned that love is, being thought much of. When I’m not being thought much of, I now know, that’s not my fault. I choose friends who will accept me and say nice things about me, think much of me. I’ve left, but when I was on social media, I would allow only “likes” and positive comments. Negative comments elevate my Smoagsburcher’s, and this rejection of others literally does physical harm.
Moving through different jobs with different employers in my lifetime, some yelled at me and treated me harshly. All of this just brought me back to my childhood. I would run football pass patterns as a pass receiver, while my dad threw the football, and when I didn’t run the pattern right, he would just whiz the ball over my head and make me run to get it. If I walked or jogged, he would yell, “Run!” I remember nearly whiting out, fainting and almost collapsing under the weight of that condemnation.
When I was a teenager, I heard this adage, the best leaders are the ones who will best follow leadership. That’s a view that I learned later was seriously flawed. The best leaders are the best servants. Leadership must earn respect by serving those under them. I’ve read a lot about leadership. Now I know a leader must earn my respect and he does that through faithfully serving me. I had some, but rarely to never did I find a leader who would serve me, and hardly ever had leaders who thought much of me, that is, they never really loved me. I won’t have a leader who isn’t willing to serve me. And from this I learned myself a lot about leadership. Sometimes my requirement of serving others clashes with my desire for others to serve me. It’s still something I’m trying to get a grasp on.
In closing, I almost didn’t write this, but I knew there were people out there that it could help, people like me. I also know that they, and you know who they are, will say, “just get over it,” like nothing is really wrong. Don’t believe them. Talk to me. I’m a victim. You might be one too.’https://kentbrandenburg.com/2021/02/23/my-story-my-battle-with-smoagsburchers/