jonah hill texts messages

Jonah Hill’s ‘boundaries’ texts prove we should all beware of therapised men

He allegedly banned his girlfriend from ‘surfing with men’ despite her being a professional surfer


I’d like to preface this by saying all men should follow in women’s footsteps and go to therapy. It makes them better boyfriends but, more importantly, better people. However, this being said, for some of the more toxic variety, this advice can backfire drastically. They can start to use tools and terms from therapy against you.

This weekend, Jonah Hill’s ex-girlfriend Sarah Brady published messages, allegedly from him during their relationship, to Instagram. “Jonah Hill texts” and “Jonah Hill messages” quickly began to trend on Google as Twitter timelines gawked aghast at the supposed “boundaries” the comedian had set for Sarah during their relationship.

Reading like a wishlist of how not to have a hot girl summer, the messages read: “Plain and simple: If you need: Surfing with men, Boundaryless inappropriate friendships with men, to model, to post pictures of yourself in a bathing suit, to post sexual pictures, friendships with women who are in unstable places and from your wild recent past beyond getting lunch or something respectful I am not the right partner for you.”

The lengthy paragraph (bore off) continued: “If these things bring you to a place of happiness, I support it and there will be no hard feelings. These are my boundaries for romantic partnership. My boundaries with you based on the ways these actions have hurt our trust.”

A few things here: First of all, Sarah is a professional surfer. So, banning her from surfing with men is logistically difficult and untrustingly unkind. She’s also an influencer from her success on a board, with 125,000 followers— meaning sharing pictures from the sea in a swimsuit is intrinsically part of her career. Jonah knew all of these things when he first slid into her DMs.

“Jonah Hill was using therapy speak to control his girlfriend,” therapist Jeff Guenther said of the messages Sarah published. “It’s important we go over this misuse of therapy language, which…can be super problematic as it masks controlling behaviour under a commonly accepted positive concept, in this case, boundaries, making it harder for the person on the receiving end, Sarah, to challenge it.”

Jeff continued: “A boundary is a healthy limit a person sets for themselves to protect their well-being and integrity. It’s a rule or guideline one creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for others to behave towards them and how they’ll respond when someone passes those limits.

“However, in the message Jonah sent to Sarah, he is not setting boundaries that protect his emotional well-being. Instead, he is dictating what behaviours and friendships Sarah is permitted to have. He’s essentially instructing Sarah on who she can be friends with, what she can do professionally, and how she can show up online,” he said.

“This is not an example of healthy boundary setting,” Jeff concluded. “Instead, it reflects an attempt at control. It demonstrates a lack of respect for Sarah’s autonomy and individuality. Jona’s message is more about restricting Sarah’s behaviour to suit his comfort levels and insecurities rather than expressing his feelings or needs in a healthy manner.

“A healthier and less manipulative approach might be for Jonah to express how Sarah’s actions make him feel without using ultimatums about what she should or should not do. Side note, I bet he loved how hot Sarah looked in her posts before they got together…[and] Jonah Hill made a lovely documentary about therapy [called Stutz], and it’s a shame to see him weaponising what he learned to attempt to manipulate his girlfriend. That sucks.”

To put it simply, boundaries aren’t demands. And Sarah shouldn’t have had to follow a list of rules to make her boyfriend happy. That’s not normal. Jonah is yet to respond to Sarah’s posts and didn’t respond to The Tab’s request for comment – but he’s still selling tote bags which say “complete unrelenting control” on his clothing brand’s website.

Of her mental health today, Sarah has said: “It’s been a year of healing & growth with the help of loved ones and doctors to get back to living my life without guilt, shame, and self-judgment for things as small as swimming in a swimsuit rather than a more conservative wetsuit. And I’m sure there’s still much more healing from this abuse ahead of me.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

‘This is no longer serving me’: Calling time on therapy speak 

Why we fall out with our second year flatmates, according to a therapist 

Could chat GPT help students with their mental health?