Psychologist warns it’s a major red flag if you relax by enjoying true crime stories
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If you're a fan of Serial, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, or Making a Murderer then we have some bad news for you.
One mental health expert has warned that those who listen to or watch episodes of true crime shows to unwind might be seriously disturbed.
Psychologist Dr Thema Bryant sat down with Mel Robbins on her podcast, the aptly named The Mel Robbins Podcast, to chat about how people can reconnect and heal themselves after experiencing hardship.
But during the episode Dr Bryant revealed those who consume violent media may do so for a very specific reason: it might be because the trauma of it all is familiar 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'?"
So, if this sounds like you, then you may be in need of some pretty serious counselling.
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."
And, well, her statements struck quite a chord with listeners on social media.
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 added: "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."
A third chipped in with: "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."
Another quipped: "Constantly feeding your subconscious mind graphic content DOES affect your mood and mindset. it’s impossible to heal that way."
Professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Dr Elizabeth Jeglic explained to Crime Reads why trauma survivors may find true crime tales interesting.
"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."
So, if you can't sleep without bingeing on a few episodes of Law & Order, maybe it's time you did some soul-searching... for your sake, at least.