Practical Growth: A Self-Recovery Podcast

The Jonah Hill Controversy: How Narcissists Weaponize Therapy and Boundaries

July 13, 2023 E.B. Johnson Season 3 Episode 301
Practical Growth: A Self-Recovery Podcast
The Jonah Hill Controversy: How Narcissists Weaponize Therapy and Boundaries
Practical Growth | Self-Recovery
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever been manipulated by a narcissist? Shamed by them? Coerced through therapy-warped language? 

That's what we're talking about today as we explore the Jonah Hill controversy and what real boundaries look like in a relationship. We dive into how narcissists exploit therapy terminology to manipulate and even shame their partners. 

Even more intriguing, we'll question the effectiveness of treating a narcissist and examine their toxic entitlement to control in a relationship. This episode is a wake-up call to recognize these signs in your own partnerships. More importantly, it's an essential guide to asserting and maintaining healthy boundaries in your relationships. So tune in, and let's grow together!

The Unconventional Therapists' Guide to Nothing
Two therapists over-analyzing everything and anything to make it all make sense in the...

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Practical Growth podcast with me, ebi Johnson, author, nlpmp and cognitive reappraisal coach. This is the podcast created for people like you, people looking for more, more health, more peace, more happiness. Each week I explore new topic in pop psychology and help you build a better life and better relationships. Join me for special guests, exciting ideas and practical advice that you can use to improve your life from the inside out. Let's get into it. Hello, hello, hello my lovelies, it's me Ebi, your favorite podcaster, your favorite author, writer, tick tock coach. And we are back back, back for season three of the Practical Growth podcast. I bet you didn't think you'd live to see it, but here we are and we are starting this next leg of the journey off very strong with a topic that everyone, everyone, has been buzzing about for days and days, and days and days. That's right, we are going to be talking about Jonah Hill's text messages. But wait, wait, wait, wait. Before you roll your eyes or complain or think that this is just some other stupid, superficial celebrity scandal, you need to pay attention heads up. These text messages from Mr Jonah Hill have been a revelation, a revelation across multiple communities, but no community more so than those who have experienced narcissistic abuse at the hands of a romantic partner. That is right. These text messages could potentially be a great example of that and a great learning opportunity. So that's what we're going to look at today. Starting off strong these text messages. Why do they matter, and what are boundaries actually, and how can we set healthier boundaries in our relationships? So let's just jump right in the Jonah Hill text. If you've been living under a rock and you haven't heard about this, or you don't know who Jonah Hill is, I'll just give you a really quick breakdown of everything that's been going on so that you can really get the gist of what we're going to be discussing next.

Speaker 1:

About a week ago, professional surfer Sarah Brady released text messages from her time in a relationship with actor Jonah Hill, who was in films like Superbad. These texts were pretty shocking. So there was no overt physical abuse, but essentially there's a lot of back and forth between Jonah and Sarah in which he's saying really deplorable things to her about you can't wear bathing suits, you can't post pictures in bathing suits, you can't wear bathing suits, you can't be around men, you can't be around women from your past, because those are my boundaries and if you do any of those things, I'm going to leave you, okay, really manipulative text messages. I'll read just a few of them for you really quickly. So here's an example of one of those text messages, just one of these really long, verbose text messages that Jonah sent to Sarah regarding her Instagram and her job as a professional surfer and surf instructor. Jonah writes plain and simple if you need surfing with men, boundaryless, inappropriate friendships with men to model, to post pictures of yourself in bathing suit, to post sexual pictures, friendships with women who are in unstable places and from your wild recent past, beyond getting a lunch or a coffee, I'm not the right partner for you. If these things bring you a place of happiness, I'll support it, but they're my boundaries in a relationship. Essentially, this is what it comes down to over and over again.

Speaker 1:

Of course, some of the texts are more graphic than others. It's Jonah telling Sarah what he wants her to do, what he wants her to not do, and a lot of it has to do with covering her body, staying away from men and staying away from anyone else who triggers Jonah's insecurities. Now there's both reasons why we should be paying attention to this, and there are reasons why this is so bad and a lot of that overlaps with each other. The important part of these is because the behaviors that we are seeing here if you're someone who's been in a narcissistic relationship, you will know a lot of these feel very, very similar. These are the kinds of subtle, coercive emotional manipulations that are used against partners in these one-sided relationships in order to gain control and to bring that one partner down to the level of the more insecure partner. That's why we see behaviors like this so commonly in a narcissistic relationship, because fundamentally, narcissistic people are insecure and that insecurity is what drives the rest of their really really toxic, controlling, demanding, demeaning, delusional behaviors.

Speaker 1:

What's really bad about these text messages is there's a lot of misogyny. There's a lot of misogyny tied into these text messages, and that is always when you look at that pattern is always linked to narcissism, especially in American culture. So much of that American misogyny that we see in relationships where the man gets to be the dominant partner who calls all the shots, makes all the demands and kind of brings down a powerful woman to make her weak. Those are tied so often to these narcissistic tendencies. Right, because it has to do with delusion. It has to do with superiority with no evidence, right. Narcissists always think that they should just be entitled to being in control because they're the best, even though they have no evidence of being the best right. They've got none of the superlatives that come with that. So these are things that we can kind of see patterns of similarities within these text messages exchanged between Jonah and Sarah.

Speaker 1:

Now, there's really three big reasons why these texts matter and why anyone listening to this podcast, anyone who follows me on TikTok, who reads my articles on Medium, who buys my books online or in the flesh there's three big reasons why you should pay attention to this and you should kind of pay attention to the lessons inside, and that's this. Number one these text messages are a glaring example of weaponized insecurity. Weaponized insecurity when a toxic, manipulative, machiavellian, narcissistic person takes their fears and uses it against someone else to bring them down. Now number two it could potentially be an example of a narcissistic person weaponizing therapy, which we talk about over and over again, and I'll break down more here in a second. And last but not least, we're seeing so many different shades, so many different shades of modern misogyny which, again, you cannot separate from narcissism when you see the similarities in the pattern. So let's get into that first bit there, that weaponized insecurity.

Speaker 1:

Over and over in these text messages we see Jonah essentially telling Sarah that she needs to stay away from men which there's just so many shades of insecurity in that and that she needs to conceal her body because he just presumably wants it for himself and that she needs to modify behaviors in a way that would make her unhappy but make him happy. Right, that's the only compromise he wants. He stopped doing these things that bring you a source of joy and power, because I want to possess you. And that is weaponized insecurity. Jonah's fears become his demands over her love life. Instead of actually working on his fundamental insecurities and being secure enough in himself and his relationship to be like, yeah, congratulations on that surf contest, I don't care who you did it with, he goes no, no, I'm going to just make you change your life. You'll see.

Speaker 1:

Narcissistic people, toxic people, insecure people use this over and over and over again, because it's really hard to kind of look inside, face the demons and deal with the insecurities, to just accept your body as it is and know that you're not always going to be the prettiest person in the room, right, but these people. That's too hard. So what they would rather do is bring someone down to their level because they're not actually secure enough to stand on their own or to stand with a partner who is completely secure. So an insecure partner is going to try to make an insecure partner. Now number two, that next really glaring example that you can learn from that you can take examples from inside of this whole situation, especially to my eye, is you know, we talk, I get asked so much, can narcissists be cured?

Speaker 1:

Can narcissists be cured? My narcissist is so much better. Or I follow this healed narcissist on TikTok. What do you think about that? And let's just be honest, so many of Jonah's messages are wrapped in therapy. Speak, right. He says these are my boundaries, you're triggering me. That is disrespectful. He uses all these kind of like therapy, pseudo therapy, buzzwords, right. And we know from the show that he just produced with his you know, questionable therapist that he's done a lot of therapy.

Speaker 1:

And that's what we see here. We see someone taking terminology, concepts, even that they have learned in therapy and weaponizing it against another person to shame them, to guilt them, to manipulate them, to make them feel inferior, to question their fundamental sense of self within a relationship. This is what you see when a narcissistic person goes to therapy. This is why, when you go to the Mayo Clinic's website and you look at treatment options for narcissists, there's not a lot of evidence that narcissists can be treated. With that in doubt. They cannot be cured. That's a fundamental fact. Some people question if they can be treated and so many can't because of examples like this of going into therapy and using it as a weapon against others, never actually doing any real self-reflection or personal accountability. Narcissistic people talk to people love, love to do this if they even stay in therapy at all. This is why narcissism is so hard to treat and you have to question as well Therapists are people. Therapists are human beings and they are human beings who are just as likely to be narcissistic as someone else. What happens when a narcissist goes to a narcissist for treatment? I don't know. Maybe we're looking at an example of that.

Speaker 1:

Last but not least, I would be remiss without mentioning this because, again, american misogyny and narcissism 100% bed buddies. They're basically the same thing. We are seeing that misogyny play out not only in Jonah's interactions with women, but in the reaction of his fans and the reaction of the public because so many people have been so quick to defend this behavior, which is indefensible. It's indefensible. It's fine if Jonah wants to basically date a 1600 Puritan who also has to cover her face in a veil, but he can't say that's a boundary. That's not a boundary. That's his demands.

Speaker 1:

What we're seeing is misogyny. We are seeing a man who believes he has a right to control the woman he's in a relationship with. It's very much an entitlement. It's someone who sees relationships as a possession and says I now possess your body, I possess your social media, I possess your career. If you want me, I am the prize. You will conform, and that's unacceptable.

Speaker 1:

It's 2023.

Speaker 1:

It's not 1954.

Speaker 1:

It's not 1852. It's not 1093. It's 2023. And it's time for every single human being to understand that, no matter who the other human being next to you is in relation to you, you have 0.0% right to control them, to call the shots over anything they do, even if they're going to do the most stupid, ridiculous thing, even if you're scared that they are going to cheat on you. You don't have a right to control any of that. The only thing you can control in this world is yourself and maybe your dog, but that's it.

Speaker 1:

And what we see in this reaction? It's just plain misogyny. I am entitled to control you, right, because you're in my environment and I control my environment. Who else does that? What a narcissistic parent act that way. What about a narcissistic partner? Again, hand in hand, the big, the big, you know. Defense, I suppose, is what you could call it.

Speaker 1:

That has come up from these Jonah Hill messages that these are boundaries. Because that's what Jonah says over and over again. Anytime his partner, sarah Brady, gets upset or questions what he's doing, he says these are my boundaries and you can either do it or I'll leave you. Okay, that's what all these text messages come down to. And those aren't boundaries. Those aren't boundaries. Everyone is saying that's a boundary. Has a right to want those things. Okay, it's not a boundary. Boundaries are lines that we set for ourselves. It's circles that we draw around the things that are important to us. So a boundary is only observed by you. Someone else gets informed of the boundary and they can decide to to respect it or not. The action happens on your part, your part. If that boundary you feels being violated, it's on you to leave. Boundaries are your lines, not someone else's Boundaries, inside of healthy relationships also work to delineate things like personal space right To draw the line between this is my space, this is your space, this is how much alone time I need.

Speaker 1:

This is how much togetherness I would like to have, without the loss of identity, but still feeling like I'm getting what I need and want out of this partnership. It would also include things like sexual boundary lines. I'm willing to do this, I'm interested in this, I'm curious in this. I have these kinds of needs what are your needs? And then reacting accordingly, not using them as a threat. All boundaries in a relationship are conversation Okay, they need to be a conversation and then according reactions from the people that hold the boundaries. That is how these things work. It's not one person saying this is the, this is my boundary. You do it and you notice that in Jonah's text there's never a question of like what's your boundaries? It's very much. This is what I want. You will do it. It's a demand wrapped in this therapy speak and that is why it's so so, so, so dangerous.

Speaker 1:

From a healed perspective, when you take a second look at all of these text messages that have been released, it really looks different, right, it really really shifts, especially because you start to notice that on Jonah's end of these conversations he clearly violates the five foundations of strong and healthy boundaries and the like, the five core components of creating those better boundaries. And that is this. Number one he's not really clear about what he wants, right? Because in all these text messages he's responding to something that he's already seen. That's triggered in insecurity and then made him lash out and say, well, this is now my boundary, don't do these things. It was clearly not important to him until the insecurity was triggered. So again, red flag.

Speaker 1:

Number two there's no exchange of expectation. There's absolutely no exchange of expectation in this conversation. It's all Jonah dictating to her what she will do or he will leave her. That's always the threat right, you will do this or I will leave you. And again, very similar to the patterns that we see in some narcissistic relationships, he never makes space for her to actually express her needs or her boundaries. He just says if you don't like this, fine, that's fine, I'll just leave. It's never like what are yours. It's never an open two way dialogue, it's always one way. Number three lines constantly getting crossed, constantly getting crossed. He curses at her, he insinuates that she is like weird or awkward or socially inept. It's really kind of cruel some of these messages, and I can only imagine the ones that she hasn't released. And so that again, boundaries are fundamentally about respect. You have enough respect for yourself to communicate them in an effective way, and then you have enough respect to yourself for you to withdraw if those boundaries are violated, and that's, again, not what we're seeing here.

Speaker 1:

Number four boundaries on both sides should always help to cultivate confidence and self respect. When you see these text messages, there is no confidence in them. It is 100% an insecure little boy who is trying to control the behaviors that make him feel insecure in this beautiful, accomplished, self possessed woman that he's been lucky enough to attach himself to. Okay, and there's no self respect in it either. A self respecting man, any self respecting person, would not try to control the behaviors of someone else, the career, the lifestyle of someone else, if it's a healthy lifestyle and it makes that person happy. So it was nothing to do with, again, creating confidence in Jonah or creating self-respect in Jonah. He just wanted to control and punish another person. And then, last but not least, we see right a boundary again, if that line you set for yourself and that you walk away from if you are disrespected. That's not happening here. That's not happening here.

Speaker 1:

There's clearly been no talk, no exchange of dialogue at the beginning of the relationship about what the actual demands or expectations or standards of the relationship were. It's just people reacting in insecurity and then using that insecurity as a threat. No one was moving on. It was trying to coerce different behaviors out of his partner. You can't build a stable and happy relationship on that kind of dynamic, because everything is going to go in the favor of one person and their happiness and their insecurities, and that is not how any boundaries within a relationship should work. And it's good on Sarah, because obviously Sarah has come to a point where she has realized the fundamental truth and this listen up, double down. This is the point. Pull out your highlighter and your pen and your paper. Okay, sarah has obviously realized that it doesn't matter anymore. It doesn't matter how he responds to her truth, it doesn't matter how he exerts these demands on her. And that's really the ultimate truth.

Speaker 1:

Toxic people, narcissistic people, are fundamentally powerless. The destruction they reap so much of it is in our mind and in our hearts and it stems from their own fear of being seen for who and what they are. They are insecure and because they are insecure, they want everyone else to feel as insecure and as powerless as they feel, and we just give that to them. We allow them to take that power from us when in truth, they are powerless. They are powerless. Sarah, standing up now is empowering a whole generation of women to not accept this behavior, to not accept being spoken to this way. It's inspiring all of us not to be spoken to this way. This is our opportunity to say this isn't normal, it's unacceptable. These are not boundaries and these are not how healthy relationships work on any spectrum. So what do you think? You know?

Speaker 1:

As exhausting as celebrity culture is, moments like this could be powerful learning opportunities for all of us, for everyone the revelations of Jonah's texts, jonah Hill's texts. It's not an isolated incident, it's not a rare example. All of us have experienced this at some point. What happened between Jonah and Sarah is indicative of millions and millions and millions of relationships all around the globe, not just in America, everywhere. It is a brilliant example, potentially, of twisted one-sided power dynamics, of narcissism and what happens when all of that collides with open misogyny For those in abusive relationships, for people escaping relationships with narcissistic people. You know those. If you haven't read those texts, just trigger warning because they're going to be all too familiar to you. In fact, they stand as a testament to what all of us have experienced. That's what's powerful here, and those are the lessons that we need to take away, rather than keeping ourselves comfortable and convenience.

Speaker 1:

In moments like this, when masks get pulled away from abusers, people that we perhaps adored at one time in our lives, we get a chance to see and embrace reality, and it's important that we do it in that moment, because that moment when we decide to say, yeah, you know what this sucks, but I'm just going to swallow it as it is, that's where change happens. And this, these text messages, these conversations that we are now openly having around them, this is an opportunity for all of us to change Both the way we relate to others and the way we allow others to relate to us. Because, again, boundaries if you learn nothing else from this episode, learn this boundaries aren't dictations for other people, they are limits for you, they are set for you, no one else. If someone can't respect your boundaries, you walk away. You don't wait for them to change. You don't make more demands. That's manipulation and that's dishonest. It's time for all of us to be a little more emotionally honest, don't you think? Don't you think our relationships could benefit from that? Well, that's the chance that we have right now. With this dialogue, with these conversations, you can go home and have these conversations tonight. Let's hope that everyone takes advantage of that and that brings us to the end. That is it.

Speaker 1:

That is the first episode of season three of the Practical Growth Podcast. I hope you all learned something. I hope you've been inspired. I hope this has shown a light on something for you. Again, I'm so grateful for every single one of you for being here. If it did resonate and you want to learn more about setting healthy boundaries in your relationship, then make sure you head over to therealebjohnsoncom. You can apply for coaching with me.

Speaker 1:

I am launching an all new program this fall and it is all about cognitive reappraisal, which is one of the most powerful healing tools out there. So make sure you head over to therealebjohnsoncom. Get this really hit home. And you want to get coached by me? For everyone else, make sure you've gone over to Apple Podcast. Leave me a quick five star review. It really just helps. It helps me kind of get myself out there, get my work out there, and it helps people find this. It helps people like you find what they need. So that's it. Leave a review, if you haven't done so already, to everyone who has. Thank you so much, and thank you to everyone else for listening, for following me on Medium and for following me on TikTok. I truly, truly appreciate it. So, yeah, that's it. Thank you again. We will see you next week and until then, keep your heads up, keep your eyes on the stars and keep moving forward. Bye, bye.

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