If you’re a devotee of shows like Serial, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, or Making a Murderer, we’ve got some unsettling news for you.
Psychologist Dr. Thema Bryant recently shared a cautionary message for individuals who find solace in consuming true crime content. She joined Mel Robbins on her podcast, appropriately named The Mel Robbins Podcast, to discuss how people can reconnect and heal following challenging life experiences.
During the episode, Dr. Bryant shed light on a rather intriguing perspective regarding those who immerse themselves in violent media. She noted that for some, the attraction to such content might be rooted in a familiarity with trauma.
She remarked, “If your idea of winding down before bedtime involves watching three episodes of Law and Order, I would encourage you to ponder, ‘Why does trauma serve as relaxation for me?'”
If you recognize yourself in this description, it might be worth considering seeking professional help.
Dr. Bryant went on to explain, “Some of us grew up in high-stress environments, so people may mistake peace for monotony. To reconnect with your true self, you must embrace discomfort, even if it feels unfamiliar.”
Unsurprisingly, her remarks resonated deeply with listeners across social media.
One individual shared, “It distracts me from the pain I’m feeling in my life. I don’t like it; it just redirects my anger.”
Another added, “The trauma itself isn’t relaxing to me—it’s the justice that the characters or real people often get, which I never did in my own life.”
A third chimed in, saying, “Wow, this really hits home. I used to consume so much chaos on TV, but after two years of self-improvement, I just can’t do it anymore.”
Yet another emphasized, “Feeding your subconscious mind with graphic content consistently DOES impact your mood and mindset. Healing becomes nearly impossible that way.”
Dr. Elizabeth Jeglic, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, elaborated on why survivors of trauma might find true crime narratives captivating. “Anecdotally, some individuals are drawn to the study of psychology as a means of understanding and healing themselves,” noted the clinical psychologist. “Many people in psychology programs have a history of mental illness.”
She further explained, “Similarly, it’s possible that individuals with a history of trauma are drawn to true crime as a way to re-experience those traumatic situations within a controlled and safe environment.”
So, if you find yourself unable to sleep without a true crime binge, it might be time to embark on some soul-searching—for your own well-being, at the very least.
Featured Image Credit: TikTok/Mel Robbins. Matthew Gordon / Alamy Stock Photo