Why I Can’t Get On Board With The True Crime Trend


Scary Mommy,Jacob Morch/Unsplash and demaerre/Getty

When I was a kid, my grandmother used to watch every documentary-style show about true crime that was available. Unsolved Mysteries, 48 Hours, 20/20. She was feeling them all. When I spent the night at her house, I almost always fell asleep to the sounds of a narrator recounting a gruesome, murderous tale.

If she wasn’t watching a show about criminal activity, she was reading a crime novel. To this day, if she’s at home, you can find this sweet old lady curled up on the couch, just taking in all the details of someone’s brutal murder.

I used to playfully tease her about her “obsession with death,” which stands in stark contrast to her pleasant, jovial personality, but as it turns out, my grandma was just a visionary.

Her murder shows are called “true crime” now, and they’re all the rage. It seems like everyone loves it.

I don’t get it.

Serial killers? Rather not.

Crime scene photos? No thank you.

Autopsy findings? Not for me.

Everywhere I turn, someone is posting a meme about their true crime obsession. Podcasts. Books. Television shows. Netflix documentaries. Facebook discussion groups. It’s everywhere!

Almost everyone I know is like, “True crime! I love it!”

And I’m over here like, “Do you want to have nightmares? Because that’s how you give yourself nightmares.”

How can you just casually take in the details of someone’s horrific kidnapping or brutal murder, then just drift off to dreamland? I mean, I know most people can by the way this trend has exploded, but my overactive imagination will not allow me to take in the grisly details of someone’s most dreadful act, then just kiss my husband goodnight, turn off the light, and sleep.

I need a comedy breather after an intense episode of a medical drama.

True crime isn’t it for me, y’all.

I have tried. My husband is able to watch without being really affected, and once in a while, he will suggest a specific true crime thing that he thinks I’ll be able to handle. He is almost always incorrect. A few minutes in and my skin is crawling. It doesn’t affect him physically and emotionally like it affects me. He is able to see how horrible it is without feeling like he’s in any danger of succumbing to the same fate, but I don’t have that ability, clearly.

I’m a true crime big fat baby. Does nobody else have a good old-fashioned scary dream after taking in something intense? I mean, honestly.

It’s a million times worse since I became a mom. Any story that involves child abuse on any level makes me sick to my stomach. I just can’t imagine it without imagining my own sweet children in that terrible position, terrified and hurting. Even when as adult is sharing their personal child abuse survival story, it hurts my heart. I appreciate the strength it takes to share, and I understand how important it is to listen.

I just don’t want to take in those kind of stories as entertainment.

Knowing the details of every single horrific thing that’s ever happened to a person is a nightmare for me. I don’t know people do the jobs that require them to be present for people’s worst moments. I can’t imagine being capable of holding it together at a crime scene or in an emergency room. It is a fact that would not be successful as a therapist or counselor.

I know that the world can be a cruel and terrifying place. I know that closing my mind to atrocities is an abuse of my privilege. Obviously, I am not talking about burying my head in the sand and acting like the world is all rainbows and unicorns. I don’t avoid hard things.

I’m just saying that when I tuck the kids in, pop some buttery popcorn, and settle in to relax for a couple hours, I don’t want to spend them consuming the details of someone’s violent death. Mostly because I like sleeping at night.

If I get a couple hours alone in the car, I can’t spend it listening to a podcast about the psychology of serial murderers. I’ll get all kinds of freaked the hell out. I already check my back seat for intruders before I get in the car. I can’t add any more things to worry about.

My threshold of true crime tolerance is apparently really low. I need some nice, mindless fluff to relax. I can’t relax to the sounds of Ted Bundy’s greatest hits.

I’m just a rom-com kinda gal, I guess. I do listen to podcasts, but usually they’re about science, cleaning, advice, politics, or sometimes celebrities. If I’m doing TV based on real life, I like a cheesy dating show. I can watch anything relating to medical mysteries. Give me a home improvement moment, or a cooking show. I even enjoy a nice episode of What Would You Do? I cry every time.

But I can’t do the true crime. I can’t fathom how it’s not terrifying to everyone else to just have all this horrible knowledge bouncing around in your head. If it happened to someone else, it could happen to me, right? Does that thought not cross anyone else’s mind? Being murdered is one of my top fears. Losing one of my kids is my biggest fear.

When I watch or listen to or read about true crimes, every victim makes me think about my babies. Every loved one left behind is me. I just get too emotionally involved. And I can’t help it!

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with you if you can listen with interest without feeling totally freaked out like I do. That seems to be the most common reaction. I recognize that I’m probably what a lot of people would call oversensitive.

I will admit that. I’m sensitive AF about stuff like this. I know true crime is all the rage, but it’s not for me.

Sorry, Grandma.

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