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Jonah Hill and the Weaponization of Therapy-Speak

Sarah Brady
Source: Sarah Brady’s Instagram

If you were on social media this weekend you probably saw the controversy about Sarah Brady,  the ex-girlfriend of actor Jonah Hill, exposing her text messages between the two. It was a classic example of the weaponization of therapy speak.

What do you get when you go to counseling with a jerk? A jerk with a whole new vocabulary to mindfuck you with.

Weaponizing therapy speak is when someone uses psychological concepts to control their partner under the guise of enlightenment. It should be a familiar tactic to anyone on this blog.

Oh, why did I cheat on you? How dare you bring this up! Discussing the mistake will trigger my toxic shame. So no, I won’t answer your questions about where I was last night. I’m very fragile right now.

See how that works? It’s an insidious form of DARVO — deny, attack, reverse victim offender. The control — don’t ask me questions when I’m shady — is hidden under a cloak of psychobabble. The bad actor is hard done by and you’re a raging rhinoceros of insensitivity. Ergo, shut up. See also Timid Forest Creatures.

In the case of Jonah Hill, he seems confused on the concept of “boundaries.” Instead of exercising them, (don’t date hot women) he uses the word to bludgeon his girlfriend into compliance about her appearance and behavior.


I have no idea if Sarah Brady had “boundary-less inappropriate friendships with men” — or if she just looks hot in a bikini — but if it was a problem for Jonah Hill he should’ve exercised HIS boundaries and broken up with her. Justly or unjustly, it would not have been open for discussion, because it would be his boundary. That’s the thing with boundaries — you let go of how they’re received. You just enforce them.

But what he’s doing instead is policing her and calling it “boundaries.”

The Reconciliation Industrial Complex, by the way, promotes this nonsense. Police your marriage! Everyone is a potential relationship threat, so don’t be alone with the potentially attractive. Wear an ankle monitor and report to your GPS overlords. It’s Mike Pence and Mother.

No. You only control YOU.

Trying to control others is doomed to failure, or ever-escalating means of control. (Try violence! Voter suppression! Or zip-ties!)

So, Jonah, pro tip — don’t date 25-year-old surfers. For starters, you’re a 39-year-old man and that’s creepy. You can’t handle a trophy girlfriend. Try Tinkertoys or pet rocks. Construct a girlfriend out of Play-doh and call her Cindy. Actual flesh-and-blood women appear to be too much for you.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Just break up in a clean cut way. That way you don’t look like a fool.

  • Was just hearing about this on the radio – and I appreciated the DJ saying “Folks, I won’t fault you for reading these messages on your own time, but please understand this may be triggering to anyone who’s been through emotional abuse.”

  • Interestingly, Ex-Mrs LFTT tried to use the family therapy between her and our youngest daughter (that was intended to try and repair the relationship between the two of them) to perpetuate her fiction that she had not had an affair and that our youngest daughter (who had discovered it) was wrong to believe that her mother had been unfaithful. For Ex-Mrs LFTT, the therapy was just another forum through which she could try and control the narrative (ie shut down the truth) and control our daughter.

    Our daughter’s therapist caught onto this very quickly, and refused to work further with Ex-Mrs LFTT; he believed – in my view rightly – that doing so would cause further harm to our daughter. Ex-Mrs LFTT’s response was to pressure our youngest into quitting therapy, as she (Ex-Mrs LFTT) couldn’t afford her half of the bill …. which was utter BS, as she’d just cashed the cheque for her half of the divorce settlement.

    We were lucky that the therapist was as good (and honest) as he was; he put our youngest daughter’s needs first throughout and established a fantastic relationship with her. When she was ready to restart some 6 months later (this time without her mother’s involvement or financial support), it was very successful.

    The lesson that I learned is that therapy with a liar/narcissist/cheater/call it what you will can be incredibly expensive and incredibly harmful unless the therapist is alive to the dynamics that they are dealing with.


    • I was also fortunate in having a perceptive therapist while in couples therapy. She saw straight through the XW’s victimhood as just justification for her own behavior. It was incredibly validating.

      • Bruno,

        I think that where my daughter’s therapist was really able to help her was in validating her feelings about how damaging her mother’s behaviour towards her was and to lift the veil as regards the “cloak of victimhood” her mother kept herself wrapped in. Being told by her therapist that “I am not willing to work with your mother further; she will not admit to the things that you know to be true but reflect badly on her, and she seems neither able nor willing to change her behaviours towards you” was incredibly liberating for her.

        He also helped empower our daughter to put some hard boundaries in place to protect herself from her mother and, even more importantly, he ensured that she did not feel guilty for doing so. He helped her to understand that it was OK to say “This boundary is in place to protect me. It is not there to punish you …. and it will stay in place until you have shown me that I can trust you.”


    • Great theme for a post or Friday challenge: how FWs try to weaponize therapy and the types of therapists who do or don’t fall for it.

      FW had a way of charming plain-jane, sexually-repressed, church lady therapists. I would roll my eyes when the giggly fluttering began. He also had a way of getting elderly male therapist on their third marriages to identify with him.

  • I empathize with Sarah Brady. My ex also tried to destroy my light, my laughter & my relationships. He was subtler than Jonah Hill but insidious all the same. My ex also took longer to do it: pick an attractive woman, who loves laughing & being fun then nit-pick/criticize her until she’s no longer. Btw: I’ve seen some women do this to some men too. I’ve read comments on twitter that these are just Jonah’s “boundaries”, but you’re right, he’s actually policing her.

    • I lived this. Klootzak picked someone who was independent, funny, kind, attractive, hard working, joyful, and criticized her into a dull, gray rock. I couldn’t walk the dog two doors down the street or talk on the phone with anyone without him chasing me down and staring at me. I have witnesses to his behavior. It’s disgusting.

    • Me too. FW was a doom and gloom and couldn’t stand to see me have any fun. Ugh.

    • Good Lord, this was exactly my marriage. What he supposedly loved about me is what he tried to crush out of me. Then when the experience of me got “old” he went looking for a new victim to stroke his ego.

      • This is exactly what happened to me. He said he loved my appearance and vivaciousness, then criticized and “corrected” (he, who uses his sleeve like a napkin) my behavior until I was a shell of my former self and an alcoholic.

        • I have a theory that the FW marries you thinking he can be you. But he can’t because you’re already you, so then he hates you for being you. But really, he just hates himself.

          • ^^^^^^^^ This. Right. Here.
            Reclaiming my ME has been an uphill, but joyful battle.

    • Yep! The first time we went out, we went to two parties and a dinner event, all with my friends. Within a year of marriage, I felt completely socially isolated. I’m still picking apart how that happened.

  • This nonsense is probably as much about celebrity/centrality. Our mainstream culture now encourages public complaints rather than private accountability. Yuck.

  • I can’t take any sides. For all I know, he sent her this after she fucked 40 dudes, including members of his family, and he tested positive for multiple diseases. I don’t know. I don’t give any benefit of the doubt and I do not automatically side with women. Lots of women were absolutely gleeful to help my ex abuse me while painting me as the abuser.

    Is this how an asshole FW can act? Yes. It’s also how a person being cheated on can react. I know how many people took sides against me while my ex painted me as the abuser. I don’t know what’s really going on here. There were literally shrinks who tore me apart completely to explain to everyone how I was an abuser and this was all my fault. Now that my ex has been exposed as a pedophile there are people going “wait…” and attempting to backtrack. Too fucking late. The damage was done. My life was destroyed. But they had all the “evidence” to tear apart every single thing I did and said. I won’t participate in doing it to someone else. He could be a piece of shit. She could be a piece of shit. They could both be pieces of shit. There’s just no way that people who don’t even know them can know what it really is.

    • KatiePig, I’m with you on this. I see this as very likely an act of desperation by Jonah Hill. He’s trying to control the uncontrollable. For whatever reason, he doesn’t trust her. There’s some allusion to things she’s done — but he doesn’t specify cheating — just his own anxiety and fear. And that could be well-founded by her past behavior. We just don’t know.

      But as CL points out, he’s 39 and dating a 25 year old surfer. WTF was he expecting?? She’s living a party life and he wants to do what exactly? Turn her into a perfect housewife? Take away her freedom? It’s not like she suddenly became a surfer who posts bikini photos. I’m sure she was who she was when he got together with her. He’s better off realizing he can’t date young immature hot girls and have any expectations of a real relationship.

      The man has a lot of insecurities. He’s very defensive in interviews. He made a documentary with his therapist. This is likely a case of — dude, take some time to yourself and find yourself a nice mature woman and be good to her. Stop using your money and fame to be women that would never date you except for your money and fame. And stop trying to control anyone.

      As for the surfer — have a heart and don’t post private texts for all to see. Grow the fuck up and just break up and move on.

      • I agree with your take. And he very well may have been chumped — however, the painful lesson still applies — you only control yourself. Policing never works and it’s a terrible way to be and to live.

        • Still learning boundaries here.
          I’m bot super familiar with the story, but how is it policing to point out behaviors one disagrees with which are presumably posted online for all to see? He listed his objections which, by his account he’d voiced before, and said since she valued her freedom more than his opinion he could tell they had different values and wanted to break up? It seemed to me he was taking himself to task and honoring his own values concerning relationships?

      • “have a heart and don’t post private texts for all to see” – wow, I wonder how many of us chumps were told to STFU and not disclose our ‘private’ business, especially if that was oh so hurtful to our FWs?

        I’m pretty comfortable taking sides AGAINST the controlling older dude who lectures a surfer that he no longer wants her to ‘surf with men’ – which means that she has to give up surfing because it’s a male-dominated sport – and is mad that she posted a picture of herself in what is a fairly modest bathing suit.

        “Well maybe she cheated tho” as an excuse for controlling behavior painted as “boundaries”? Nah.

        • Apidae, you are assuming she did this to protect herself. It looks more like she did it to shame and mock him. It’s passive aggressive immature behavior. She does not seem to be in any danger here. Did she give context when she posted it?? He did say that if she doesn’t want to do what he’s saying then they can go their separate ways. She could have written back to him privately “you’re a controlling asshole. Fuck off.” And then if he continued, she could do something more public or get real help.

          I’m confused why you think that even if he was chumped by her, that she’s entitled to publicly shame him. Weren’t they already broken up (I honestly don’t know)?

          FWIW, I’m all about exposing the truth about a Cheater and abuse. I let everyone know what happened with FW and was no longer his secret keeper. What she did isn’t that

          • “It looks more like she did it to shame and mock him. It’s passive aggressive immature behavior. She does not seem to be in any danger here. Did she give context when she posted it?? He did say that if she doesn’t want to do what he’s saying then they can go their separate ways.”

            Yes, and it was his right to state what his needs are and break up with her because she wasn’t meeting them. I’m not seeing how this is controlling. It appears to be a breakup text, not a threat.
            I agree that it looks like passive aggressive, petty revenge on her part.
            Maybe there’s more to the story, but this is hardly a smoking gun.

        • Apidae, I went and found more about what really happened. And you are right… Jonah Hill appears to be one creepy controlling asshole. And now that his ex-girlfriend has posted (I got more info and context), more is coming out about him. Good for her!!

      • I’m honestly very tired of people acting like 25 year olds are children. I hate that our society encourages stupid, childish, party behavior until 30 or 40 or even longer. It’s pathetic.

        • The studies about brains not maturing until that age turned out to be junk science. I never got over that college freshman impression that 25 year olds are solidly, squarely adults and way too old to be acting twee but it was a different generation. As the mom of teens, I’m watching statistics for major mental disorders, major health conditions and disability for people under 35 and it’s getting to frightening levels. I think that’s overlooked when headlines slam younger generations for being immature and for failure to launch. I think the generation-bashing is more comforting than the idea we may be poisoning the brains and bodies of younger generations with PFAS or whatever wonders of modern chemistry. Let’s not even talk about what the student loan racket is doing to the rest. And then there’s social media but that’s not what’s causing the unprecedented explosion of cardiometabolic disease, diabetes, hormone disorders, etc., etc.

      • ‘dude, take some time to yourself and find yourself a nice mature woman and be good to her. Stop using your money and fame to be women that would never date you except for your money and fame. And stop trying to control anyone.’

        This, I feel like he’s used to trading on his movie career to get girls, but chose someone that has their own celebrity and he feels out of his comfort zone ie out of control and scrambling to regain it. He’s just had a baby with someone, so hopefully he’s found someone more his speed and given being an asshole.

    • Yeah I was confused about who was the bad guy here. He does sound like a controller, but if I read it right he didn’t publicly trash her, it was a text? She exposed the text.

      I think like it or not a lot of men will be uncomfortable with their wife/girl friend exposing a lot of skin. Right wrong, I don’t know I am old as dirt.

      But yeah, don’t date or marry a person who is comfortable with all that and try to change them. While he could have said and likely should have said in person, we are just different folks, have a good life, it seems folks don’t talk in person much anymore.

      I don’t have twitter, so I don’t know what was said in public; but if it was posting of private texts then except for self defense, the only person I see in the wrong is the one who brought it to the public.

      Did he cheat and try to DARVO, or did he break up with her and she is still pissed. Just not enough info to know.

    • “I know how many people took sides against me while my ex painted me as the abuser. I don’t know what’s really going on here. There were literally shrinks who tore me apart completely to explain to everyone how I was an abuser and this was all my fault. Now that my ex has been exposed as a pedophile there are people going “wait…” and attempting to backtrack.”

      I feel like I could have written this. Similar story. Except all the flying monkeys stayed right by cheater’s side even after understanding cheater is a serial pedophile. Solidarity hugs if they are wanted.

      • Thanks for the hugs. I’m sorry you went through it too. My ex also has people standing by him now knowing he’s a pedo. Some of them have children of the same age he was caught attempting to have sex with. Blows my mind.

    • Right?? Im confused af… I dont understand Chump Nation of all people to sign up so promptly for “yup, he’s emotionally abusive” when you know damn well this was all of us through wreckonciliation…

      The bottom line stands, enforce your boundaries. But let’s not make it out to be like these are UNREASONABLE standards for trust and respect in a relationship.

    • Seems like if she did those things, he could have brought those things up, instead of telling her about how he doesn’t like her having any close male or female friends, and wants her to quit her surfing and modeling career?

      • I had an issue with my ex having female friends after he betrayed me. I probably said that in some of my personal texts with him rather than spell out the entire history of our relationship in each text to accommodate all the strangers he was going to share it with. That’s kind of how personal conversations work. She also could have just said “fuck you fatass” instead of selecting which texts to share with millions of people to smear him. But this is exactly how it was to other people with me and my ex. Everything was what I was doing wrong and what I should’ve done different while he had ZERO responsibility for anything.

        I’m just never going to see a smear campaign and side with that person. Decent people going through hell have too much to deal with and too much to do to engage in this shit. But evil people will always make it a priority to smear someone.

    • Has your mind changed with the latest revelation about him assaulting a 16 year old by pinning her up against a car and shoving his tongue down her throat against her wishes. He was 25 at the time. Alexa Nikolas

  • I remember the misapplication of therapeutic terms as weapons.

    XW started going to therapy the week before ILYBINILWY. A couple of weeks later I’m in peak confusion (because I was clueless about the affair, I was very hurt but mostly extremely confused as it honestly didn’t make any sense) so I take a day to go hiking and try to clear my head. When I return, XW asks “how was it?” I answer “Terrible. I couldn’t concentrate and mostly cried the whole time”. She responds “My therapist said you would do this! This is emotional blackmail!” To be clear: I didn’t dump my problems on her. I didn’t threaten her. I didn’t even blame her. All I did was answer truthfully a question that she asked, and she labels this as “emotional blackmail”.

    We’re years out and it’s simmered down for the most part, but I still get “you aren’t respecting me” (meaning – correctly – “I know that when you are being extremely polite it means you don’t like me and you are supposed to like me”) and “you don’t support my career” because when she needs to travel for work I always take the kids but I don’t always give her back her missed custody time. You can tell that I’m the evil ex-husband because of how I always take the kids; I’m sure all the divorced mothers here will appreciate how hard this makes her life. In addition: surely when she left me for a coworker this means she found another option that will advance her career better than I can. Why is this still my job?

    • Klootzak thinks I will give him “his” time back if he misses time with our child due to his travel needs. Nope. Not going to happen. Why? Because he uses “work travel” to cover when he is actually going off on schmoopie excursions. I will ALWAYS take care of child when given the chance but if he loses the time, that is his problem. He doesn’t get to treat me like a convenient babysitter when he has no time to play act as a father when having a child at home gets in the way of his skirt chasing. He can call it what he wants and your ex can, too. We spent enough years supporting their careers. We don’t owe them any more.

      • This has been the biggest conflict in my divorce. I once asked XW if she had any ideas about how to reduce the conflict. She said “you could give me 10 mandatory travel swaps per semester”. I was skeptical, but said “well, then I would get 10 swaps as well”. To which she responded “oh, no. You never need to travel for work. These would be work travel swaps. If you want to travel, we could also have 5 leisure travel swaps per semester. Of course I would also get an additional 5 leisure travel swaps as well”. (Additional info: since she works with AP / husband and his work is fully remote they always travel together, which makes all travel be work travel as far as she is concerned. They toured India for 3 weeks in India a few years ago: according to her it was work travel because they stopped by a work site for a couple of days in the middle)

        • You’re the evil ex-husband because your world doesn’t revolve around her. To people like your XW, the correct and proper way for everyone else to behave is to do whatever she wants them to. That’s why she comes up with these bizarre arguments that you should give her extra help but she shouldn’t reciprocate, and also her ‘work travel’ counts but your travel doesn’t.

      • “We spent enough years supporting their careers. We don’t owe them any more.”

        Yep, yep yep and yep.

      • “We spent enough years supporting their careers. We don’t owe them any more.”

        Somehow they think they are entitled to everything – custody at their convenience, assets, first pick of everything – because of their careers, without realizing they could never have had that career AND children without our support. It was only while settling all this during the divorce that I realized FW never valued my support – in fact, he said he “resented” me?? – while he traveled every single week and half the weekends and I cared for very young kids alone.

        Good riddance. I have not once regretted divorcing him.

    • Ugh- the “my therapist said that you…”. That’s a familiar refrain.
      Apparently his therapist diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder. I never even had a session with her.

      Then he’d leave books laying around the house, like Stop Walking On Eggshells and What to do if you love someone with BPD…
      He caught onto the therapy terms as well but lucky for me he usually used them incorrectly so I had to teach myself to hold in the giggles.

  • I have always found it interesting that so many successful men feel the need for a trophy-wife/girlfriend. They seem to want someone who does not match them, in power and status, and want the women to desire them, and only them, even though she is often inappropriately young and gorgeous. I can only speculate about why this relationship would be attractive to the woman. I don’t think either partner appears to have a relationship with a mirror, or reality. I have always believed too much emphasis is placed on beauty. External Beauty is often created by genetics and grooming, and is destined not to last too long. Time has a way of making it fade. Internal Beauty and self worth seem to last a lifetime. If either partner only views the other as useful, IMHO the relationship is doomed.

    Being public and nasty during a break-up does not reflect well on either party. Be purposeful behind closed doors with a lawyer and hammer out your separation agreement. Then put on your game face and move forward with your life. All that needs to be said is “it’s over.” We do not owe, nor should we expect an explanation of “why” to or from anyone.

    I also believe relatives and friends should stay out of the public mess. You may reveal things to them because their life is touched by your relationship/separation. They should keep their mouths shut, too. I understand that Tabloid news knows no boundaries of decency, and that the general public laps up stories about celeb’s. I believe this is a very sad reality.

    Often I have to google some of these folks, because I really can’t remember all of them. Some celeb’s have had so much exposure, I automatically click right on by when I see a picture or news line. They are not my family, or friends. I run in a much smaller, and much less sensational crowd. I do not have, or seek, a trophy. In the past, when I have left a relationship, I make my reasons very clear. My Ex’s may not want to share any of my observations, but what ever they may have had to say about me would not change who I really am. My theory is they will treat the next partner they meet even worse than they treated me, because they have learned new tricks along the way. Their basic character and habits will never change. That is always the “why” behind my choice to leave. What happens to them after I am gone is no longer my concern.

    • That is the one thing I can say about my fw, he didn’t by any measure dump me for a trophy wife. I told myself at the time it would have been easier if he did, I mean who can compete with a firm 20 year old.

      Nope she was in every measure a mess, quite frankly there was no way anyone with any sense would have looked at her and though, hey she is a prize. But there it is.

      I get that he basically after years of cheating started in with his direct report and his house of cards fell, after he had an ethics complaint lodged against him. But dang. Even one of the other officers said loud and clear “I thought the idea was to trade up, not down”.

      I get now that it’s going to hurt no matter who it is; and I also get that I escaped a sure hell and just didn’t know it for a few years. All he seemed to want was someone so dependent on him that he could call all the shots.

      He never did like that I went to work, first part time then full time and actually tried to get me to quit my job about two years before he dumped me.

      Thank God I didn’t listen. That job saved me; emotionally and financially. It was a minimum wage job, but it had potential, and once he cut me loose, I was able to start getting promotions with no restraints on what position I accepted.

    • Well, the AP in my case was 14 years younger than me but not much of a trophy, more like Bobcat Goldthwait in a stringy wig. That’s where beer goggles come in handy I suppose. It’s not always looks. But the flattery ran very thick and gooey. Because she wasn’t attractive, it highlighted that something Freudian might be going on because the fluffing and sucking up was coming from someone who otherwise had a reputation for being a malignant cold fish at work, particularly to younger, prettier or more talented women (I found out about the affair because the AP made enemies). The two faced thing is very similar to FW’s mother as it happens. Maybe the duality gives some people a near-miss feeling of relief like “Oh thank GOD this person’s being nice to me! Phew! I better stay on their good side!” Or maybe men who hate women are drawn to women who hate women, sort of like gaining bonus henchman services.

  • I’ll start by saying I’m not saying these statements about him aren’t true. I barely even know who he is, so I have no reason to stand up for him.

    This woman doesn’t exactly strike me as some innocent flower in the linked article. Her story, so far, feels a lot like image management to me. If, as a thought experiment, I were to reframe the entire story through a lens of “she cheated with her surf coach” (which I’m not saying she did), then my perspective of the whole article would change.

    I’m kind of surprised that this is my reaction, because I think normally I’d just see his controlling-ness in these words and my thinking about it would stop there. My “men are so entitled” personal bias would kick in and I’d agree that he’s way out of line. (Apologies, good men of CN. Biases are unfair, but we all have them, and I wrestle with this one a lot.)

    I expect it’s her post-relationship very public willingness to throw some theoretical little girl to the man she’s accusing as a wolf in order to “teach him some feminism” that started the process of setting my teeth on edge. Feels like she’s leveraging feminism to her own advantage at the expense of the innocent. Children aren’t pawns in adult games, and it’s shitty to objectify people that way.

    He may be a total d-bag. Probably is. People who enjoy the public eye tend to be narcissists. But her public comments come across to me a lot less like “me too” than like “how dare you, I’ll make you pay”. It makes me wonder whether she is painting herself the hero and her opponent the villain more than actually sharing her own true cautionary tale. (Where are HER messages for context? Suspiciously absent.)

    • Whatever her motivations — and absolutely they may not be pure — it’s still an example of using therapy speak to be controlling, which is blog fodder. It’s not just FWs, when chumps engage in relationship policing they’re trying to control the uncontrollable. It doesn’t work. As a squidgy middle aged woman, I can’t relate to GenZ constantly posting pix of themselves on social media. I can’t tell if that’s aberrant or normal, so I’m not weighing in on that. I think there’s a generational divide. But a professional surfer is probably promoting herself and her, um, athleticism. So, don’t date her if that bothers you, IMO.

      • Agreed. I do see him saying he intends to un-date her for those reasons in the texts, but I also hear you about the improper use of therapy-speak while he’s doing that.

        I guess I just also see an angle where some chumps use pretty similar words and phrases during the phase of the relationship breakdown where we are trying to save the relationship and be the marriage police. People use phrases they’ve learned in therapy and speak about agreements that were made in therapy (cheaters promise to stop flirting with others, dressing provocatively, etc , because it triggers the chump — then they proceed to do those things, specifically because it triggers the chump. They love when our pain gives them centrality.)

        If someone published our one-sided email or text streams from those times, we might sound similarly controlling and disempowering, because — frankly — we probably were. We were trying to fix a thing while the other person was actively breaking that thing.

        I guess I’m mostly just saying that in this particular case I could see how more context of their dialogue might give a fair amount of his monologue a pretty different sheen.

        Not so much because I care about either of them as people. More because I recognize some of my own words in there — from a time when I was foolishly trying to hold a marriage together and hold the spouse accountable for promises he had made in therapy.

        It seems controlling now that I wanted him to come home on time, not have lunches and dinners 1 on 1 with other women, and not call specific women, etc., and that I set boundaries (in those words) that if he did those things again I was going to end the relationship. I referenced things our couples therapist had said about why he needed so much external validation and how he could change that, things he agreed to work on in sessions. I was expecting him to strive to keep the agreements. I pushed for it.

        I didn’t understand yet that the fact that I felt I had to be so controlling was its own huge red flag. And I’m sure my letters from that time would embarrass me deeply now.

        (Sorry I’m a day late. Was in a thingy for work all day. Boo.)

  • Those texts about his f^c(ing “boundaries” made feel sick. My FW told me he had to use the Al Anon concept of “detached love” with me because I was “emotionally unavailable”. This concept/boundary is used with an addict in your life. I am not an addict. He also told me I was “enmeshed” with our daughter who has intellectual and physical disabilities, and has pretty high needs (she has insomnia, behavioral disturbances, chronic medical issues, etc). Because of his own issues, I was usually in a position where I had to protect her and our other children from his anger and rage (but especially her). I filed for divorce in March and am slogging through the process, but I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. I feel that therapy and 12-step programs for FW have become another form of narcissistic supply.

    • ChumpBucket, same. FW would read some therapy thing, I would think “great, maybe he’ll get it” and then he’d come back with “I think I’m codependent.”

      What? He was well known to be astonishingly self centered. Calling a fragile ego and desperation for external validation “codependency” does not make you a victim.

    • I was also told by my ex that I was emotionally unavailable. This was perplexing to me at the time because I thought I had been trying. How do you be emotionally available to someone who has emotionally walled himself off? I guess I was supposed to have used an emotionally battering ram to break through. Totally my fault for not trying hard enough.

    • Also ChumpBucket, I reread your post and holy crap, you JUST filed. What amazing strength 💪 doing the right thing for your kids and for yourself. Stay safe mama, and keep checking in. Narcissistic FW sounds like he won’t go quietly.

      • Thank you. I spent the past couple of years doing everything Chumplady said not to do. I went full on gray rock back in December after finding out more stuff. That’s been a game changer. As the fog is lifting, I am coming to terms with just how eff-d up this relationship has been.

  • Granted, this is a pool of people that had malignant, dishonest partners, but I’ve been wondering lately, does couple’s therapy even work? Is there a point? I think if I were in a serious relationship again & having problems I wanted to try to work through, I’d rather go to individual therapy since at the end of the day, you only control you, right?

    Maybe I’m just salty over my previous couples therapy experience which was expensive and not helpful. Why pay $150/hr. to someone watch you argue w/your spouse?

    • Right becasue if we all have our boundaries (and we should) then the only counseling a spouse should be getting is how to behave like a committed decent human, and how to respect others boundaries.

    • I don’t know if couples/family therapy works, or not. My guess would be it depends on the problem.

      However, you do learn a new language in therapy, and you can use the terms to converse with your partner/family/child/friends. The terms may provide some clarity, some boundary, some definition of a problem. What I absolutely do not believe in is having a private therapy session, and then telling your “other” what the therapist said about them. That is totally useless. If the therapist believes that to be true, he/she should say that to the other. It is not your job to convey information from the therapist to your other.

      I also believe it is damaging to tell your child what the therapist said to you. The child should hear any advice directly from his/her therapist. It seems abusive for one parent to talk to the child and convey negative information based on the authority of the therapist. When my children asked me a question I told them the truth to the best of my knowledge, and according to age-appropriate information. They did not need to know all the sordid details. I could safely say “I have solid reasons to believe your father had multiple affairs while we were married.” I could safely say “I did not have any affairs while we were married, no matter what your father told you he believes to be true.” The therapist’s opinion about whether either of those statements were true was not information my children were entitled to. My children had no reason to believe a therapist they did not know or had not had a session with. My children should expect privacy with any information they shared with their therapist. If we betray the confidentiality of our own therapy, we are breaking the privacy trust with our own therapist. How abusive and confusing would this be to a child?

      When my Ex’s told me ridiculous things like “You turned the therapist against me, he/she is on your side and won’t help me” I laughed. I told the therapist my perceptions and experiences. It was the therapist job to interpret that information for me. When we had joint sessions, it was the therapist job to tell us both, at the same time, what his interpretation was. When ex had a private session, the expectation was the same. If he did not like what he heard, that was the ex’s problem, not mine.

      Therapists are human. They are making an educated guess, based on the info they have. They are not incapable of making errors. We are ultimately responsible for making our own decisions based on the information we have. CL hit the nail on the head, don’t use therapy speak to give your own opinion credibility. Own your own issues, work on yourself. You are the only person you can change.

      • I’m not saying all therapy isn’t good. I think individual therapy is fantastic. It’s just the more and more I think about it, couple’s therapy just doesn’t seem like it’s a realistic framework to improve a relationship.

    • My personal opinion is that couples therapy is a huge waste of time and money, and often does more harm than good for the very reasons we’re talking about here

    • I can think of situations where it could help people who both still care about the relationship but are having trouble communicating or understanding each others needs. It provides a safe environment to voice the things that are bothering them with a (supposedly) neutral 3rd party who may be able to help both sides understand each other. Then those being counselled can decide whether or not they can or want to meet each others needs and stay in the relationship or break up. I wish ex had tried that first instead of cheating. We may still have gotten divorced but we would have made that choice together in a respectful way.

    • I’ve found it useful in a basically functionally solid marriage that was floundering due two years of nearly unrelenting external stressors.

      This was 3 or 4 sessions to help both of us figure out what we needed to tweak for each of us to feel less lost.

      Therapy worked because we both wanted our marriage to work, were both willing to do things to improve our relationship and respected each other.

      I don’t hold much hope for therapy to work after an affair. One partner has already shown themselves to be lazy and self-absorbed. Not much you can do with that.

  • Oh, don’t worry about old Jonah. He promptly impregnated 26 year old Olivia Millar, daughter of a 90’s supermodel last fall and the baby was born in May. Note that in photos she’s always wearing bulky sweaters and overalls. Good Little Eliza Doolittle! Obey!

    • Yup Luziana! Hill is a controlling creep. The age gaps are 🚩🚩🚩

      • I agree completely. What seems harmless is not–or at least it very much resonates with how my EXFW started to slowly but surely isolate me from anyone and everyone. He’s trashing all of her favorite things, her hobbies. She has a life of her own, she’s an athlete, she has friends. He’s trying to cut her off at the knees. She feels good, healthy and confident in her bathing suit?? oh–he won’t let her have that. He’s going to tell her she’s a slut. This is exactly how most of us got into this mess in the first place, so no, i don’t think it’s harmless at all. I don’t ignore any red flags anymore—and I think that is why she posted it. She’s knows that coercive control shit is real and it’s dangerous. Just like in Lundy Bancroft’s book–what was his next move? He rushed in with someone else. Moving way too fast is always a red flag. Get them locked in and isolated and feeling like they are nothing. Maybe i’m too reactionary–but that’s what happens when someone steals 17 years of your life holding you mentally hostage.

        • Yeah, it’s the whole list of things together that makes clear he’s trying to completely cut her off from everything. Can’t have male friends, because all your relationships with them are “boundary-less.” Can’t have female friends because they’re all from your “wild” past and “unstable.” (Remember that she’s in her early 20s, so obviously her same age friends will be more “wild” than his old ass). Can’t surf if there are men there. Has to quit her job as a model.

          Basically get rid of all your friends and also your entire career. It ain’t a good look.

          • Right? and it’s not like he’s worried she will get hurt or something out there surfing. is he worried about sharks or riptides? nope. dudes. other dudes. so insecure. he liked her because she surfed—not like he met her in a library or something! this girl was smart enough to get out early. this is the kind of text or weird situation that i can recall in the early days with my ex, where i felt immediately smothered, and i felt it right in my gut, and it felt extremely threatening to me and what did i do? I ignored it—bc i thought, well, I’m just lucky that someone really wants to be with me! (i cannot palm my face enough!) that’s why i’m totally cool with her sharing these texts. I wish i had that kind of context when I was going through it.

  • My (thankfully brief) experience with couple’s therapy with FW#2 was that HE had no intention of changing, he just wanted me to be a compliant appliance, and had hopes he could convince the therapist to get me to do so. Since I thought we were going to try and actually heal our marriage, I started telling the therapist about how the FW with deliberately infected me with an STD, at which point both the therapist and I glanced over to the FW – who was sternly shaking his head at me, obviously trying to communicate, “Don’t tell him about THAT!!”

    I remember saying, “If we aren’t going to be honest with him and tell him ALL the truth, what is the point of us being here? We are simply wasting our money.”

    That was the only appointment to which I went. There is no point getting therapy with a FW. They will lie, and lie, and LIE, because that is what they do.

    Oh, and after he was diagnosed as bi-polar, he LOVED having something to blame his rotten character on. And to shut down any uncomfortable conversation, since he could be “triggered”.

    The next FW learned the term “boundaries”, but felt he needed to constantly test them, because how could he possibly know what the “real” boundary was? So he couldn’t have sex with another woman. What about an EA? What about sexting? No. What if he were to “accidentally” run into the AP? Surely that wouldn’t be his fault? Oh, no, an AP sent him a text. It would be rude to not respond, certainly I would understand. No? And on, and on, and on…..

    • My FW became a master at playing dumb with my boundaries. “Oh! I didn’t know ‘I don’t want you seeing AP anymore’ meant even when you’re out of town.”

      • RIght. They suddenly become rigidly literal about definitions, except when said definitions go against their narrative. Going “no contact” with an AP, suddenly means “you may not touch her, but you can talk to her”. Blah, blah, blah.
        It is a game for FWs.

        • Either they’re idiots for not actually understanding what we meant, or they’re idiots for thinking we’ll buy their BS.

          Either way, I’m not spending anymore of my life with an idiot.

        • Right. But they’re lying liars, and eventually you find out that when they were playing the literal game (“I said we weren’t in contact; I didn’t mean we weren’t texting/calling/FaceTiming/emailing.”) they were actually also still sneaking around and fucking. At least that was my experience. Trickle truth and boiled frog, 100%

    • “My (thankfully brief) experience with couple’s therapy with FW#2 was that HE had no intention of changing, he just wanted me to be a compliant appliance, and had hopes he could convince the therapist to get me to do so.”

      Bwaaaaaa haaaaaaa haaaaaa. I the EXACT same experience. The therapist told him that his attitude would earn him a divorce. But FW thought I’d never do that.

      Sometimes I fear that his second wife appliance is even more compliant that I was and he’s treating her even worse than me. But then I figure it’s none of my business.

  • What I have found interesting is the rise in coaching and therapy speak, seems like there are lines being blurred between what is coaching and what is therapy, and the application of the words.

    And as for control, my ex loved to use therapy speak word salad on me.

  • And half the people on Twitter being like “what? He just told her what his requirements are and he was so polite about it?”

    I was waiting all weekend for your blog today, Tracy, and you did not disappoint. If he doesn’t want a hot fun girlfriend who is a model and a professional surfer, he shouldn’t have dated her in the first place. But he did date her and then tried to control her with ultimatums. “Some boys take a beautiful girl and hide her away from the rest of the world”

  • I’ve barely heard of Jonah Hill, and I certainly didn’t know anything about his girlfriend. So I Googled her. She is a beautiful young woman. She hasn’t had tons of plastic surgery like so many Hollywood types. I suspect he chose her because she looks hot in a bikini. And then he got mad because she looks hot in a bikini. Jonah Hill is a complete control freak loser. Sarah Brady will probably never read this, but I have to say…you’re a fantastic woman! You don’t owe somebody privacy when they treat you like shit. It was fine to share his texts and you dodged a bullet with that one.

  • Im not clear on their relationship. Did she cheat? Or did he?? Because if it’s him, that’s a bit rich.

    To be honest, while I wouldn’t express them this bitterly, I have the same boundaries for romantic partnership. I get where he’s coming from. And if these boundaries are being made into something of “get a load of this guy”, remember it only benefits cheaters in the long run.

    Im constantly finding myself in spaces/communities where you are effectively shamed for not being “the cool gf” if you don’t accept a partnership with a guy who: has plenty of female friends because it’s normal; goes out on dates with them without you, because it’s normal; goes off on his own and doesn’t have an obligation to tell you where and with whom, because that’s normal…

    As chumps fall exactly into this, I beg to differ. I support Jonah’s standards! But it seems here we also need some context.

    • I had the same reaction. Without context, it’s hard to tell whether he’s being unreasonable.
      If that’s what he wants, he’s allowed to say so. Who wants an SO who is constantly hanging out with the opposite sex, who takes sexual photos and hangs on to questionable friends? I sure wouldn’t.
      Telling her he won’t date a model is a bit much, but if it’s not his cup of tea, that’s his right. I’m not getting why this is supposedly so outrageous.

      • Because she was a model and a surfer when he first started dating her, and then he turns around and demands she gets rid of her male AND female friends, and her career.

        • I don’t know if it was a demand. It looked like he was telling her why he was breaking up with her. Maybe he thought he could handle her lifestyle, but found out it didn’t mesh with his and it was a deal breaker. That was stupid of him, but hardly merits the level of vitriol he’s been receiving.You would think she would have worse texts than this to share if he was supposedly demanding she comply. Then again, perhaps he was too clever to put it in writing.
          I can’t make a judgement call on this one without knowing more. My concern is that the outrage about this has a trivializing effect towards abuse via coercive control, which is a lot worse than this.
          Is a break up text really what we’re calling abusive these days? Is having unrealistic expectations abusive?

    • Yep. That’s the difference between standards and boundaries.

      “I have these standards for the people I date” is something to police oneself about, and ideally early dating is a period of figuring out whether the person one is into meets those standards. I have been that person, telling a guy with questionable friendships with women that he seemed to have “weak boundaries,” to try to get him to understand the impact of him hanging out one-on-one with other women and not mentioning it to me.

      But I had “weak boundaries” insofar as I continued to date him, someone not meeting my standards, once I realized what I was dealing with. FWIW, said ex-bf seemed to have eyes for no one but me as long as he was in pursuit, but as soon as I was officially his girlfriend and I started to expect to see him and so needed to arrange date nights earlier in the week, the acting out / shadiness appeared.

      I think it helps to see “controlling” as a neutral verb, something people try to do to each other, whether by grasping/clinging/monitoring or by escaping/lying/addiction, when the dynamic is unhealthy. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to control unfaithful men. I have definitely been accused of trying to police who my ex could socialize with.

    • What, you don’t want to guide your boyfriend’s cock into other women’s mouths?! OMG, so jealous and insecure!

      I agree with you. Having a bunch of opposite sex friends is a huge red flag. I don’t give a shit what anybody says or what anecdotal evidence they produce. I thought I had a great marriage with a guy with lots of female friends too, until I found out about the fucking murder plans. I don’t need to fit in with the cool girls anyways, they can all enjoy passing each other diseases through their boyfriends since they’re like OMG, so cool and totally secure! I like having a healthy vagina, thanksbutnothanks cool girls.

  • reading those texts made my skin crawl. He is AWFUL. Those are not boundaries, that is CONTROL. (in other words, what Tracy just said…again). I can’t believe people defending that utter carp.

    • KADawn yes! he is so passive aggressive starting with the patronising opener “Plain and simple”. Perhaps more context would assist but then she would be accused of attention seeking. I’d be interested to know whether he did allow the relationship to end without fanfare because abusers usually want the last say on everything, including whether the relationship actually ends.
      Dr George Simon (thanks CL) has some videos about how rules don’t make people behave properly or do the right thing, good character does (how many of us have encountered managers who weaponise rules and policies so they can maintain power and control).

    • Most of my DV clients are routinely accused of cheating, even the ones who aren’t allowed to leave the house. Common theme amongst abusers. Monitoring and critiquing outfits, inspecting articles of clothing for signs of sexual activity (after victim has been at work all day, or at home with the kids), preventing access to gym/hairdresser/dentist (why else would you want your teeth checked other than to attract men?!).
      I think most of us who were betrayed didn’t even see it coming, much less police it from the get go.

  • I think I had the exact opposite reaction to her ‘outing’ their private conversation. Generational issues about doing this sort of thing in text aside, I don’t think there’s enough context to automatically leap into the therapy speak/controlling sphere with this.

    He may be an insecure, controlling douch bag trying to police her for all we know, and she could accurately be as she claims (abused), OR there could have been a pattern of behaviors that got him to the breaking point of sending that text, and she could be an immature 20something who still wants to live and conduct herself as if she’s not in a committed relationship.

    Either way, I think he WAS clear to say he wasn’t the right partner for her—and he did so privately. She was the one who made the choice to throw it, without any context, into the public sphere with a lot of labels attached; abusive, controlling, gaslighting etc. (In reading bits of various reporting; she was the one calling herself a victim and using all those therapy speak labels)

    There’s no doubt in my mind there are issues on both sides, but this smacks more to me like another Hollywood story full of insecurities and manufactured narratives, than it does an accurate representation of the serious kind of things we chumps deal with.

    • I’m also torn about this. The timing doesn’t really mesh with #MeToo sentiments. She waits until he has a baby with someone else? Maybe she was just boiling over with trauma and the timing is random but it’s not the best look and gives pause. In the final analysis, we just don’t know what went on in private and the texts aren’t slut-shaming enough to be completely definitive. If there are any takeaway, it’s about chumps not getting caught in the psychobabble trap of trying to “change” or “fix” a partner and having some (possibly decontextualized, possibly reactive) text thread released in public. At the very least, have some political sensibility and solidarity with other chumps and don’t feed the Perelistas with more spin-fodder that chumps are all controlling, ungroovy, sexy-fun-killing nudges.

  • I’m confused. Does he mean taking sexual pictures and sending them to other guys? Does “boundaryless relationships” mean she is cheating?

    Sorry to veer OT, but my post yesterday got stuck in moderation and I had a message for Sunnyside.
    Sunny, you can contact me at [email protected]

  • Ok- I guess it’s good that he’s being clear about his boundaries? But this clearly shows that since his boundaries involve her changing her entire career to suit them, this relationship is a silly non starter. It’s good she found out that he’s emotionally manipulative before they went any further with it.
    I personally think it’s juvenile to post your text communication like this though.

  • Ergh Jonah Hill. Always the victim.
    I understand why she exposed him because he claims he is a feminist when he is just another virtue signalling narc. How many of our exes aligned themselves publicly with some good cause to cover their tracks and gaslight us. What a fun game! Mine was mr fake feminist socialist who secretly enjoyed financially controlling his wife and kids. I laughed (even before I knew what he was really like) when he informed me he had written the sexual harassment policy for the local political party.
    Domestic violence/addressing anger programs risk teaching abusers new ways to abuse victims without being detected by the legal system. I suspect reduction in rates of recidivism is because the abuser learns how better to conceal his controlling tendencies.
    I really don’t know how you fix it other than to teach young people how to spot an abuser early on and paddle away in the opposite direction.
    So actually good for her in highlighting to young people what emotional abuse can look like.

  • “Surfing with men”….um, yeah—excuse me guys—you’re crossing my boyfriend’s boundary. Could you please leave the ocean? and why yes, this is a burlap sack I’m wearing.

  • Not loving this post. It would have been better if Jonah shared his concerns privately. Otherwise we don’t have enough information to be critical. Hugs!

    • I thought he did share them privately via text. Then much later she posted the text to public.

      Maybe I read it wrong. But yeah not enough to know the whole story.

        • I didn’t follow it either. (no twitter) I was just going by the original story post. I only saw the one Text that she made public.

          But, by what I can see it would be hard for me to say whos on first. Dang I am old.

    • These are literally his private texts he sent directly to her. She made them public.

      Wow. I never thought I would relate to Jonah Hill because I don’t care for the guy or even think he’s funny but holy shit, this is my fucking life. He’s literally being blamed for publicly revealing private things that SHE publicly revealed. Damn! I wonder how often this actually happens? It is so familiar. Same fucking thing happened to me.

  • From the date of the text, they broke up December 2nd, 2021. So NOW she’s posting private text messages over a year and a half old? The idea she was waited to post them out of concern for Jonah’s pregnant girlfriend made me Lol.

    To me, this is one of those “if it feels good, don’t do it” scenarios. It doesn’t make her look like a hero. She looks petty. He could be the biggest prick in the world, but wouldn’t just walking about be better?

    • I’m almost on the fence. I worked in the entertainment industry in H’wood. It’s definitely not even-steven or the clash of the Titans in terms of gender warfare. The main perps are overwhelmingly male and the stakes are no less than violent rape, Dickensian-level career and reputation ruin and sometimes death for women. But in keeping with such high stakes warfare, there are some pretty impressive female hustlers at large. I wouldn’t mess with that set in a million years. You want blond, fit, tan, photo-ready, fame-oriented and young on your arm? And a law student as a bonus? Play at your own risk.

    • Yes. The timing is off. Also, if he was not famous, would anyone beyond her personal friend group care? It’s good to tell people about what you’re going through, but does it have to be the whole planet?

  • I was fortunate in being left for a life coach exgf. The ex went from being Mr ‘I don’t believe in therapy’ to Mr ‘I’m in touch with my feelings’ overnight. During the naming of my myriad faults, he was able to put her coaching to good effect by diagnosing my alleged tendency to ‘self harm’, to waste my talents, and to exhibit a fixed mindset. The fact that the exgf did not know me, had barely ever had a conversation with me, and was passing judgement in circumstances when any self-respecting therapist would have declined to do so, didn’t seem to enter into their limited thinking. There’s no better basis for employing all your expert therapeutic skills to accurate effect than the words of a FW liar! Because, hey ho, they’d never lie to you about their long-suffering spouses, would they. Some might observe that attempting to repeat a relationship from your teens and early twenties at which you had failed twice in the hope of being third time lucky exhibits an entirely fixed mindset. But what do I know! I’m not a life coach! I do have an excellent therapist though and my mindset seems to be sprouting out all over!

  • Someone Tweeted:
    “I’ve seen folks tweet that if Jonah Hill wanted a gf who didn’t post bathing suit pictures or have guy friends he shouldn’t have dated a surfer.
    But here’s the thing: Emotionally abusive & controlling men don’t want ‘submissive’ women, they want to take strong women down a peg.”

    Wow, amen. Not that “strong” necessarily requires publishing bikini pix and hanging out with hot sides of beef on the beach. But, since that’s who Brady was when the relationship began, that’s obviously what attracted Hill to begin with. He might have faked being cool with that at first. To be fair, maybe she faked being tired of it, complained about the surfer dudes and their shallow, sometimes scary and objectifying culture (I lived in LA and, believe me, that world is rife with risk) and said she wanted a more normal, safer life.

    Clearly this is a somewhat nuanced issue since Hill– as many multiply-betrayed chumps might be– seems very nervous about being cheated on. I might even empathize with falling into the psychobabble trap of trying to “fix” and clarify boundaries with someone who promised the world and then served up only shit. But wait! Is it “shit” if that’s what she offered from the get-go? That’s not false advertising, not a bait and switch, not a con. There’s also issue of the typical H’wood age gap relationship as CL pointed out. As someone who was pursued by older men from the time I was very young and was then berated for normal immature and confused boundaries (granted at 18 or 19, not the ripe old age of 25), I think Hill should grow the fuck up, inspect his twisted patriarchal trophy value system and stick to people with equivalent life experience.

    • “…Emotionally abusive & controlling men don’t want ‘submissive’ women, they want to take strong women down a peg.”

      Thank you for posting this!

      • Everything I have read says just the opposite, they do tend to target partners they can more easily control.

        Either way it is a horrible situation to be in.

  • There is public and there is private. Texts should not be exposed as such, but it makes it plain to see this is not a match. My XH could not write or spell well but I adored him for his communication limits. I was close to a literature major so could do all he could not. I did not expose him because I cared for him then. Love spackles…People learn about each other in various ways.
    This was just one way this young couple got the message about who the other was. I call that a big eye opener and a win for both of them. Thankfully not married, thankfully an easy move on down the road and no kids. Not much to complain about here except we all need to watch out for covert abusers and this is one possible example of a developing crazy. Keep those pickers powered up!

  • I find it gross that she shared their text messages, but 25 is the new 18. On the other hand, he deserves it, because as mentioned, he was 39 and going out with an obviously young 25 year old.
    I think it’s a little one sided to share (and so publicly no less) part of what was probably a bigger conversation taken out of context. But, CL’s comments are food for thought though.

  • I never liked him from the start. He always gave me the ‘creepy’ vibe – now I see why. I always thought ‘he is exactly like his characters in real life. The constant ‘frat boy’ mentally and drunken inappropriate actions to women’. Turns out I was right – except like was stated above – he’s got a whole new vocabulary to use. UGH!

  • So, I have a lot to say here…

    There is something ‘off’ about this post, the way it was written compared to all of CL’s other articles, and the way it is only vaguely and tangentially related to the stated purpose of this site. I didn’t see anything in the post, or in any of the related material (and I read all I could find) about cheating, or going to counseling (as the opening paragraph clearly states,) and this wasn’t an example of gaslighting, manipulation, and mindfuckery used by a cheater. (At least as far as I could tell. Maybe I missed something somewhere, but I don’t think so.) And, I can’t remember another article in all of CL’s archives like this, and I’ve read them all… Which seriously makes me wonder why it was posted at all and why it was written the way it is.

    The point of this post seems to be about attacking/shaming/belittling Jonah Hill for his preferences in women, (being “creepy” for preferring younger (adult) women, being “insecure” because he prefers that she not show her body to everyone on the internet and because he prefers that she not hang out with other dudes in places and situations that he sees as inappropriate, and being “controlling” because he let her know that he has boundaries, and left the choice to respect them to her… (Which, according to her texts back to him, she DID agree to respect them.) And what does “you can’t handle a trophy girlfriend” and “actual flesh-and-blood women appear to be too much for you” have to do with chumpdom (the supposed point of this site) or even the suggested point of the post? (“Weaponization of therapy-speak.”)

    My initial thoughts on this article?

    “I need a pretext to belittle Jonah Hill for his preferences in women, (note to self, use his name in the title) so I’m going to latch onto some far-removed tangent of what my site is about while trying to capitalize on the popularity of something some internet troll pointed out, (while making sure Jonah’s name is in the title) in order to create this post about some issue that sounds important, (still making sure Jonah’s name is in the title,) yet I’m only going to devote about half of the words in the article to it, while using the other half to lambaste Jonah for his preferences in women (and using his name in the title.) No one could possible think he’s a cheater. (Even though I put his name in the title.) Pay no attention to the misandry behind the curtain. (Throws washcloth over the elephant next to the window.)”

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I have some some similar preferences, and have some similar boundaries, have let my partners know what they are, and left it up to them to choose whether they wanted to respect them or not. And, I’ve asked everyone I’ve been with to do the same for me, because I want to know what people’s boundaries are and I want the choice to decide whether to respect them or not. And, based on some of the comments being left here, there are some others that also have some of the same boundaries and have done the same things.

    When my first wife and I were dating, we sat down and talked about our expectations. (We didn’t have the word ‘boundaries’ then.) She told me very plainly that me going to strip clubs (at least without her) was a deal breaker for her. I don’t go to strip clubs, and I had no problem with it, but even if I did go to them, I would have accepted what she was saying and not considered it ‘abuse,’ or ‘controlling.’ She set a boundary, “I won’t be with a man that goes to strips clubs without me,” she let me know what that boundary was as well as the consequences for not respecting it, and left ME the choice to respect it or not. (Which I did. Ironically, one of the reasons I’m here in CN is because SHE didn’t respect MY boundaries and it ended up with her cheating… Imagine that.) She didn’t use “therapy-speak” and didn’t even frame it as nicely as I have, or even in the framework I have, but I knew what she meant, and actual communication filled in the way it needed to be understood by both of us.

    NONE of that is abuse. Nor is it controlling.

    If Jonah had let her emotionally invest in him BEFORE telling her any of these things, then ABSOLUTELY I would see this as controlling and (at least borderline) abusive. But we have no context to suggest that it happened that way. All we have are Jonah’s words, “based on the ways these actions have hurt our trust.” (Not conclusive, but seems to suggest that SOMETHING happened, they talked about it, and he let her know all of this at some point before that text.)

    I’ll be honest and say that my brain instinctively spit out the “she cheated on him and this was the ‘this-is-what-it-will-take-to-regain-my-trust’ conversation” scenario. I had a very similar conversation with FW after my first D-Day. But, I have no context for that either…

    But setting boundaries and letting other people know what they are so they can choose to respect them or not, is what I would EXPECT mature, adult people to do. (Granted neither Jonah nor Sarah seem that mature or emotionally intelligent, and there’s all kinds of childish stuff in there.) But, I would also expect mature, adult people to be able to say, “sorry my dude, but I prefer drunken, naked beach parties with horny surfer dudes, and posting thirst-trap pictures of myself in swimwear on the internet because I enjoy men drooling over them.”

    NOTE: I am NOT saying that is what was happening or why she was doing what she was doing, (READ THAT AGAIN) but even if it was, THAT’S HER CHOICE! And regardless of what I (or anyone else) think about it, she’s allowed to make that choice and have her preferences to that effect. (Just like Jonah is allowed to have his preferences and make his choices.)

    While I admit that is seems like Jonah certainly does have some insecurity issues, the boundaries and telling her what they were, WEREN’T what made me think so. Granted, he’s not a very eloquent or well spoken person, but I understood what he was telling her, and so did she according to her responses.

    But, this post makes it sound like setting boundaries is something you aren’t allowed to tell anyone about, or ask anyone else to respect. (Which seems like the opposite of what every other post here tells chumps to do.) THIS post seems to be saying that telling someone what your boundaries are is somehow abuse.

    Setting a boundary for yourself, like, ‘I will not be with someone who does ,’ telling someone else what it is, then giving THEM the choice to respect it or not, is not abuse, and it isn’t controlling.

    It’s called being an adult…

    Up until reading this post, I had a lot of respect for you, CL. This post has shrunk that respect a little. I never would have expected a “pretext post” in order to shame and belittle someone over their preferences, while trying to make it sound like something else. (I can read between the lines in some of your other posts and realize your take on some posts, and I respected that you kept it at that.) But this? This is something that we, literally, have no context for. Isn’t about chumpdom or cheating or cake or kibbles or anything having to do with any of those things. The pretext had NOTHING to do with what you keep saying your site is for… I can’t tell who is who in the comments, but I have seen quite a few people that seem to agree with at least some of Jonah’s preferences, and I am sure that no women want to be shamed for preferring that their men don’t go to strip clubs, or watch porn, or follow a bunch of hot women on Instagram or OnlyFans, or be friends with their ex’s, or anything else…

    I get it, CL… It’s your site and you can do whatever you want with it…

    But what’s with the blatant misandry?

    • It is about a manipulation tactic — using therapy language in service of being controlling. Instead acting on his boundaries, he’s saying “boundaries” and telling HER what he wants her to do. That’s not how boundaries work. He’s entitled to his preference for young surfer women. He’s entitled to dump her because he doesn’t like how she’s behaving (justly or unjustly). What I saw instead is a man telling her how to be — to dress, act, work — to please him. That’s a no go. “It makes me uncomfortable when you’re dressed in a bikini” is one kind of conversation. “My boundary is do not wear a bikini if you want a relationship with me” is a controlling demand.

      • That really is not my main contention with your post…

        Most of the snark you aim at him (personally) ISN’T aimed at his use of “boundaries” as a manipulation tactic, or about him manipulating her at all, its about his preferences in women. (See the examples in my post.)

        None of your other posts (at least none I could find in your archive, and I’ve read almost all of them) are about barely tangentially related things like this one is. In all of your other articles, the person (being mentioned by name, especially in the title) was either a cheater, a chump, an apologist of some kind, a cheater enabler, a member of the RIC, or was CLEARLY using some kind of mindfuckery aimed specifically at chumps. All of the other articles I’ve read seemed to have at least that common theme with a clear link to the stated purpose of your site.

        That wasn’t AT ALL the case here, EVEN IF he was doing exactly what you assume he was doing. (And not just simply ignorant of what boundaries are and being bad at communicating, which I see as far more likely, but I admittedly don’t have the context for either.)

        I’ll take from your response (where you completely ignore the main contention I have with your article,) that you don’t really care that this post reeks of pretense and false equivalence.

        I appreciate when your feminism shows through in your posts, because I almost always agree with it, but this just smells like blatant misandry (barely) hidden under the pretense of “gaslighting” and “manipulation” that you (barely) gloss over in relation to chumpdom. It feels like an attempt to gaslight your readers into transferring their outrage at his manipulation (which assumes some context we don’t have) onto outrage at his preferences (which is the majority of what you snark at him about.)

        Jonah is allowed to have whatever preferences he wants regardless of what anyone thinks about them. And he shouldn’t be shamed or belittled for them (like you did in this article) any more than any woman should be shamed for her preferences.

        But, to respond to what you DID say…

        Without context, one could just as easily assume that Jonah is just ignorant of how boundaries work and what they are, (which I think you actually say in the article) and isn’t trying to manipulate her at all, merely telling her what he doesn’t like, what his dealbreakers are, and leaving the choice to her. That is not manipulation or abuse. It’s communication. (Granted he’s doing it wrong, using the concept of boundaries wrong, and does seem to be insensitive, but we have nothing to assume that he’s doing it to actually be manipulative.)

        Again, I agree, he doesn’t seem like a great communicator and he’s trying to communicate using words and concepts that society (not just therapy or therapists) has given him, and it’s clear he doesn’t actually understand those things. But, given that he is obviously ignorant of them, it would make more sense to assume that he DIDN’T get them from therapy or a therapist, (as your article blatantly states,) because if he had, he would (at least sort of) know what they were and how they work… Therapists and therapy usually involve an explanation of how these things work. (Which is how true “therapy-speak” ACTUALLY becomes weaponized, because manipulators learn (at least somewhat) clearly how to use it to their advantage. Jonah clearly does not know how…)

        In one context, I can see what you’re seeing. But I think its a stretch. Seems I’m more willing than you are to assume simple ignorance or plain stupidity over manipulation and abuse.

        In another context, I see you actually SHAMING a chump for his preferences in women instead of just giving him a dose of cold water for policing his relationship, as you have done with all the other chumps who’ve done this.

        And it looks like you’re doing it simply because he’s a man with preferences you don’t like.

        “My boundary is do not wear a bikini if you want a relationship with me,” isn’t what he wrote… Unless you’ve somehow gained the ability to read minds, you’re assuming that’s what he meant.

        What he wrote was, “If you need inappropriate relationships with other men and need to post pictures of yourself in a bikini on the internet (and all of those other things,) I’m not the partner for you. If these things bring you to a place of happiness I support it and there will be no hard feelings. My boundaries for romantic partnership.”

        I can re-word it too:

        “My boundary is not to be with someone who posts pictures of herself in a bikini on the internet, we talked about this. If you want to change my decision to break up with you, you’ll have to stop. But, that’s your choice to make. I won’t have any hard feelings whatever you decide.” Of course, I don’t have the ability to read minds either, but this could just as easily been what he meant.

        And, no, they aren’t the same thing. Your way is clearly with the intent to manipulate her, which is abusive. My way is he’s just trying to tell her what he wants, which he has done before, and giving her the choice, which isn’t abusive or manipulative. (Unless of course people aren’t allowed to tell each other, or remind each other, what they want, or what their dealbreakers are anymore…)

        Of course, to re-state, if he got involved with her knowing that she was doing this and didn’t tell her from the beginning what his boundaries were, or let her get emotionally invested BEFORE telling her what his boundaries were, then yes, that is manipulative. But we don’t know that. Nothing in any of the texts gives any context for those assumptions. We can’t even go to her Instagram and check because she even says she took a lot of stuff down, so we can’t know what it was like when they got together. We do know that they had some kind of conversation about it before the text, but no idea of when or under what circumstances. (Could have been prior to the relationship. Could have been after he caught her cheating. But, we don’t know any of that. So, we can’t assume that he did any of those things.)

        And, he hasn’t responded in any way, so we don’t have his side of any of this story except for the texts she chose to release. (At a questionable time. A year and a half later.)

        And, my questions stand: How exactly is he supposed to make his boundaries known? Or isn’t he? Just set them and when she does something that triggers one, just (poof) disappear? No discussion, no choices, no communication? That seems VERY childish and immature and NOT the way adults handle relationships.

        My true objections to this post on this level are these: Why are we assuming manipulation instead of simple ignorance? Why are we assuming that he is being deliberately manipulative instead of just being terrible at communicating and simply ignorant of what boundaries are?

        After reading the post, the answer that comes to mind is: “because if I had assumed those things, I wouldn’t have had a tasty bit of (barely relevant) blog fodder to use as a pretext to shame and belittle Jonah for his preferences.”

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