I can relate to the “exaggerated startle response” and always being told by everyone to “relax” and “chill out” that this blogger describes. People suffering from PTSD and C-PTSD have to deal with the impatience of other people who don’t understand what it’s like to walk through life feeling like you might get ambushed any second. You feel constantly in danger and become hypervigilant about everything. It’s not like we want to be like this, you know!
My exaggerated startle response wasn’t all that bad until after that traumatic break up a few years ago and then it got worse still, after my close family involvement during my father’s illness.
It’s weird to me. Although I know I ended up with C-PTSD and had many symptoms as I grew up and then later into adulthood, the startle response was I think pretty ‘normal’…at least in comparison to others I know. I loved ‘haunted’ houses and hayrides at Halloween, loved horror movies, I used to laugh after being startled. I don’t laugh now.
Mr. B (guy I live with) has just gotten to the point of understanding (as well as possible) and doesn’t get all defensive anymore. You know that high pitched annoyed, “SOoorRyY!” But to be fair, as I said, it’s a pretty new characteristic after more recent traumas. So it’s a change for him.
Although I don’t generally get angry AT him and just with the reaction itself and how it feels, I did get angry with him in particular a couple times when he purposefully and jokingly acted startled when he wasn’t.
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My ex used to make fun of my tendency to jump and get startled easily, and would make loud sounds or shout randomly ON PURPOSE to see me jump, and then get make fun of me and/or get annoyed at me for doing it. I’ve always been a jumpy person, but being with him made me even more so. I do still love horror movies, but not the newer type with all the blood and violence. I love the older suspenseful horror movies like Psycho or The Shining. Yes, they make me jump, but you’re expecting to, so the feeling is different. It’s fear by proxy, you know nothing is going to happen to you personally.
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