We’ve got some bad news for lovers of true crime documentaries.
If you like to watch shows such as Making a Murderer, or Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story to relax and unwind, then it seems you may have some unresolved trauma you need to address.
That’s according to one mental health professional, who has recently issued a warning that those who tune in to or watch real crime programmes to relax, are likely gravely disturbed.
On her podcast, appropriately titled The Mel Robbins Podcast, psychologist Dr. Thema Bryant spoke with Mel Robbins on how people may come together and heal themselves after going through adversity.
However, Dr. Bryant also addressed some key points to look out for when it comes to your healing journey, and why some people choose to watch true crime to help them relax or just before nodding off.
She stated throughout the episode that those who watch or listen to violent media could be doing it for a particular reason: it’s possible that the horror is comforting to them.
She said: “If your idea of relaxing before you go to sleep is to watch three episodes of Law and Order, [then] I would encourage you to think about ‘why is trauma relaxing to me’?”
Dr Bryant continued: “Some of us grew up in high stress [situations], so people mistake peace for boring. To come home to yourself you have to lean into the discomfort because it’s gonna feel unfamiliar.”
Her remarks understandably received a lot of attention from fans online, who quickly took to social media to share their thoughts on what was said.
One user said: “It distracts me from the pain I’m feeling in my life. I don’t like it, it just redirects my anger.”
A second commented: “The trauma isn’t relaxing to me – it’s the justice the characters or real people often get that I never did in my own life.”
“Damn. This really hits home. I used to watch so much chaos on TV, but after working hard on myself for the past two years I just can’t anymore,” a third wrote.
Another quipped: “Constantly feeding your subconscious mind graphic content DOES affect your mood and mindset. it’s impossible to heal that way.”
It seems that a lot of people use the shows to either distract themselves from their own pain, or as a coping mechanism. But it’s important to understand why.
Dr. Elizabeth Jeglic, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, outlined to Crime Reads why trauma victims could find real crime stories fascinating.
“Anecdotally, some people are drawn to the study of psychology to understand themselves and heal themselves,” the clinical psychologist said.
“We have many people in psychology programs who have a history of active mental illness.
She added: “Similarly, I think it might be likely that people who have a history of trauma might be drawn to true crime to kind of re-experience those traumatic situations in a safe environment where they have more control.”
What do you think about it all?