For his movies Brad Pitt has to memorize lines and carefully think through his motivations. But in real life he doesn't seem to think before he speaks. In fact, he could use a second take. In a recent interview with Parade magazine, he basically said that he didn't like his life much when he was married to Jennifer Aniston and that their marriage was, well, boring.
"It became clear to me that I was intent on trying to find a movie about an interesting life, but I wasn't living an interesting life myself," he told Parade, adding that his marriage to Jennifer contributed to that. He has since tried to fix his mess, saying it was not Jennifer who was dull -- he was the problem.
Brad and Jennifer split up more than five years ago, so why is he still talking publicly about their marriage in negative terms? Could it be that it is simply about publicity and the timing of his new movie? Was it just a damaging slip of the tongue? Or might he have been reacting to the fact that Jennifer seemingly has finally found "the one" and moved on? That he feels a need to assert that he has had his "one" all along, and make sure everyone knows how wonderful his relationship with Angelina is? He continues to talk about Angie and his life with her as "pitted" against Jennifer and his marriage to her. This constant comparison can't help but spark competition and jealousy for everyone. It certainly keeps the public talking. In fact, the other night one of my patients came in and started our session by asking if I could believe what Brad had said.
Indeed I can, because I see it over and over again. People are still stuck on what was wrong with their past marriage, which keeps the pain and loss of divorce alive, instead of letting go and moving on. Anyone who has suffered through a divorce knows, the longer you stay focused on the negativity, the harder it is to get over it. People often ask me, "Will this divorce ever end?"
What I always say is that divorce often ends legally well before it ends emotionally. You have to create closure for yourself, and to do that you have to be willing to let go. That means being able to cope with what you left behind, focusing on the positive of what you took away from it. Maybe it was a stepping stone to get to another place, or maybe you acquired valuable lessons from it. Think of it in terms of how it helped you grow, rather than dwelling on where your marriage or your ex fell short of your expectations. The challenge is to be able to preserve what you gained, rather than continue to disparage your ex -- which keeps you stuck in the anger. This way, you let it become an opportunity to learn and go forward. When you talk negatively you keep your bad feelings alive. When you talk positively you put them to rest. The ultimate goal is to get on with your new life in a better place for what you gained from your old one.
In the recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, Brad said that it took him ten years to get used to talking about himself. When he was growing up, it was looked at as arrogant and boastful to do that so he never did. For a long time he didn't speak up much in the press until his stardom caught up with him, and he eventually had to start talking. It seems, though, that he never developed the skill to know what to say and what to leave out. At the beginning of his career he said nothing, these days he says too much.
One thing is for sure, Brad knows his pitfall. As he said in Entertainment Weekly, "My affliction has been...I can make something or draw something or design something better than I can explain it." Creating is a great vehicle for him but expressing himself in his own words is not. The bottom line is, whether you are Brad Pitt or not, when dealing with the aftermath of divorce this old adage can be helpful: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
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