Ping-Ko Chiu


Software Engineer,
Location Technologies @ Apple
pingkochiu [at]

23 August 2018

Family arguments

by Ping-Ko Chiu

Have you ever had a dejavu moment where you feel like you are having the same kind of deadlock with someone on a topic? It’s as if you have argued with the same style and arguments many times before but each time with no resolution.

One would be tempted to think that being close with someone means you will be able to communicate freely. That is not always true. There are some topics that are more difficult to discuss precisely becuase you know each other so well. Those conversations often end in a deadlock.

Physical actions like an eye twitch, a sigh, a temporary disengagement of the gaze, and unintentional fidgeting of your hands are all social cues that elicit emotional responses from the other person. There is also a compounding effect of these physical cues that results in an exponential growth in emotional intensity. One action inflicts a certain emotional response that in turn causes another physical gesture or speech that creates yet another emotional response — Ping pong ping pong. Before you know it, the discussion becomes a full on fight. Once this dynamic is established it is hard to get out of. It is as if we are performing a well rehersed skit that has happend a million times before.

Maybe thats why arguemtns among the family seem so trivial from the outside. What we neglect is the years of rehersal they had.

tags: Life