Watching true crime to relax is a massive red flag, psychologist warns

20 June 2023, 15:12

Watching true crime documentaries could be a red flag
Watching true crime documentaries could be a red flag. Picture: Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

A psychologist has warned that tuning in to true crime shows to relax is a red flag.

A psychologist has suggested it’s a major red flag if you use true crime shows to unwind.

Many of us have binge watched popular Netflix series’ such as Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and Making a Murderer.

But it turns out watching these violent or scary shows can actually be the sign of something more serious.

Doctor Thema Bryant explained that treating true crime shows as a way to relax before bed could mean that the trauma portrayed in the series is ‘familiar’ to you.

Speaking on a podcast, 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?'

"That's what it is. Harm, crime, violation, attacks, and that's what is going to soothe me into my bedtime."

Host Mel then asked what people tell her about their connection with true crime when they go to her for therapy.

She continued: "Some of us grew up in high-stress [situations], so people mistake peace for boring.

“And it's like, to come home to yourself you have to lean into the discomfort because it's gonna feel unfamiliar."

Watching true crime documentaries can be a 'red flag'
Watching true crime documentaries can be a 'red flag'. Picture: Alamy

After a clip of the show was posted on the @melrobbins TikTok account, viewers were quick to share their reasons for watching true crime.

Someone replied: "For me, it's solving the crime/puzzle, solving the problem."

Another wrote: "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.”

While a third wrote: "It distracts me from the pain I'm feeling in my life. I don't like it, it just redirects my anger."

However, some did agree, with one TikTok user saying: "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."

Someone else agreed: "Ok this is really an eye-opener. I used to love true crime and now that I've been healing for over a year, it isn't even interesting to me."

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