the interpretation of dreams

Brad Pitt Studied His Own Nightmares

Brad Pitt or Millais’s Ophelia? Photo: GQ

Move over, Freud, we’ve got another psychoanalyst in the house! In a conversation with writer Ottessa Moshfegh for GQ, Brad Pitt describes a time where he interpreted his own dreams nightmares. According to the profile, he told Moshfegh that one recurring nightmare haunted him for around four or five years. Those nightmares led the actor to study up in an attempt to free himself of the night terrors. Pitt wrote in an email to the author:

It would always be at night, in the dark, and I would be walking down a sidewalk in a park or along a boardwalk and as I’d pass under an Exorcist-like street lamp, someone would jump out of the abyss and stab me in the ribs. Or I’d notice I was being followed and then another flanked me and I realized I was trapped, and they meant me grave harm. Or being chased through a house with a kid I’d help escape but got pinned in on the deck — and stabbed. Always stabbed.

The nightmares stopped a year or two ago after the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star sat down with himself to ask a simple question: Why?Apparently, taking the time to parse the dream for all its constituent elements did in fact release the dream’s hold on Pitt. He said that he was able to glean truths from these repeated stabbing nightmares. “My interpretation of the stabbing dreams were on the surface about fears, feeling unsafe, completely alone — but beneath it all they mostly seemed to be about buried needs — those aspects of self that weren’t allowed to bloom as a child — like healthy anger, individuality, or especially a voice,” he explained in another email. Speaking of buried things, Pitt did not address his ongoing wine lawsuit or his custody battle with ex-wife Angelina Jolie. But using free association to analyze childhood trauma? Freud would be proud.

Brad Pitt Studied His Own Nightmares