Psychologist warns it’s a red flag if you relax by watching true crime TV shows

If you’re anything like me, nothing beats spending a Friday night binge-watching the newest true crime hit on Netflix while curled up in your pajamas. Hold onto your remote control, though, because I have some news that may force you to reconsider your comfortable setup.

There might be significance to your preoccupation with unsolved murders and serial killers.

Stories of unsolved murders, widespread serial killings, or unsettling missing person conspiracy theories are among the most captivating. In case anyone is passing judgment, let me clarify that we are not trivializing the horrific real-life events that inspire these tales. The shadowy sides of human nature and the frequency with which these crimes go unreported or unsolved are inherently fascinating.

The twist is that a psychologist has recently noted that our fixation with true crime may be cause for concern.

Mel Robbins invited psychologist Dr. Thema Bryant to talk about how we can recover and re-connect after going through difficult times in an interesting edition of The Mel Robbins Podcast. And things started to get really intriguing. According to Dr. Bryant’s theory, if your notion of unwinding includes watching Law and Order or other graphic crime dramas on repeat, you may want to consider why trauma is soothing.

“If watching three Law and Order episodes is how you unwind before going to bed, then I would encourage you to consider why trauma feels soothing to me,” she thought to herself. People often mistake tranquility for being uninteresting since some of us grew raised in high-stress environments. Because it will seem strange, you must embrace the discomfort in order to return to yourself.


Therefore, it could be worthwhile to think about getting professional help to address more profound personal concerns if you can identify with this true crime habit before going to bed.


Furthermore, trauma survivors may be drawn to these stories for a purpose, as Dr. Elizabeth Jeglic, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, added in an interview with Crime Reads. Anecdotally, some people are drawn to the study of psychology in order to comprehend and heal themselves, the speaker observed. Many of the students in our psychology programs have a history of ongoing mental illness.

In a similar vein, I believe it’s possible that persons with a history of trauma could find solace in true crime stories as a way to relive those painful events in a setting where they have more control.

After Bryant made some insightful remarks on his podcast, TikTok users flooded the video with kind comments like “Wow! It all makes such logic,” and “Pot plop. I’m heading to my journal.

“Wow, that’s exactly what I watch to relax,” commented another person. This was really insightful.

The responses continued after that. “This truly resonates with me. After putting a lot of effort into improving myself over the past two years, I just can’t watch as much craziness on TV as I used to,” someone said. “The trauma isn’t relaxing to me – it’s the justice the characters/real people often get that I never did in my own life,” said a very vulnerable individual.

Perhaps it’s time for each of us to stand back and consider why we find the darker aspects of entertainment so appealing. Is it something more profound, or just a harmless thrill? We’ll have to wait and maybe do some introspection to find out. For now, enjoy your binge! Or perhaps think about substituting a pleasant, light comedy?

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