People have different times to process emotional contents...when one person is fast to acknowledge that for them there is a need to stop interactions and protect themselves, other person could still go on and deny their personal hurt a bit longer.
There is also a gender difference; where women are trained to use self-examination as a daily tool ("am I adequate? did I do right here?") men tend to fix their views on external factors and therefore are not so used to self-examinations.
All this talk leads to a tentative answer to the question:
What is the point of no return in a passive aggressive relationship? When one side finds out that “meta talk” (that kind of conversation that reflects on serious questions such as: how are we doing together? are we making each other happy? what could we improve?) communicating about the relationship is impossible with the other person.
And why is it so hard to talk with a husband about his PA reactions? Well, the answer is here:
In “ASK NORA” (https://passiveaggressivehusband.com/asknora) we have a person telling:
“Because admitting to a problem is equivalent to an immediate negative judgement against him and being told "you’re a failure".
This is the reason men can’t get involved in a conversation about how they could improve: they are always positioning themselves in the very demanding situation of:
examining yourself=failing=rejection risk
Why is this attitude of ONLY focusing the self-examination on their own failures? What about their good behaviors that deserve recognition? Is there no self-esteem that can balance the automatic negative evaluation and include the positive aspects that each of us has? Whatever the hidden cause, men block self-examination and thus they lack opportunities to learn how to improve their wrong actions. This is a tragic result because puts people in a direct way to failure, as you can see reading this woman’s story:
“I truly believe, based on my own personal experience, that my PA husband never gave it a thought that his anger, stonewalling, sarcasm and long weeks of pure silence etc. etc. would cause him to eventually lose his marriage/family.
Never being one to threaten divorce unless I really meant it, I mentioned the "word" 3x over our 30+ yr. marriage. I wanted it to be taken serious as in "last chance".
The first 2 times he did not answer; walked out of the room and that was enough....I followed through on 3rd time & have never looked back. Personally at 56 years, divorce is not what I wanted; I just could no longer "continue my slow death" from loneliness, lack of physical or emotional love & his continued "under current" of anger & blame waiting to go off at any moment! Why his anger? I never understood it before & now I no longer care! "
Tragically, we can see that is this falsely protective behavior of the passive aggressive person which leads to rejection. It produces (in a magnificent example of a self-fulfilling prophecy) the same results it tries to avoid. He ends up rejected! This time, because he is not man enough to own his 50% responsibility in making the marriage relationship happen with full involvement, disclosure and communication.
There is no other way: if you want to stop the falling out of love, the destruction of trust and the loneliness of both of you in a marriage, you need to know how to identify toxic behaviors, signal to your spouse that you respect and value her as much as to examine and change what needs to be changed and get on in the program.
Isn’t facing now some fear about being rejected better than ACTUALLY being rejected when you can’t face up to hurting your family?
Every journey starts with a single step. Our “The 4 Steps to FREE Your Marriage of Passive Aggression” is ready for you, but even if you’re not ready to commit to such an undertaking, you can talk to one of our conflict coaches to see if the system is right for you and your family.