The Amens’ Strategies For Overcoming Conflict In Relationships

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Amen and Tana are once again joined by Natalie Buchoz for a continuation on the topic of love. The Amens reveal the choices they make when difficult situations arise, such as analyzing behavior honestly, recognizing obsessive tendencies, and other tactics to overcome conflict and build up the relationship stronger than ever.

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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warriors Way Podcast. I'm Dr Daniel Amen.

Tana Amen: I'm Tana Amon. In our podcast we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.

Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warriors Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain-specked imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit

Tana Amen: The Brain Warriors Way Podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to

Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We're having so much fun.

Tana Amen: I love this.

Tana Amen: We are.

Dr Daniel Amen: We love Natalie.

Tana Amen: We love this.

Dr Daniel Amen: Natalie has been such an important part of our lives and-

Tana Amen: Yes you are.

Dr Daniel Amen: Our mission. Can I tell them a bit about what happened?

Natalie Buchoz: Oh yeah, I was waiting for it.

Dr Daniel Amen: When Natalie was 15 ... Maybe you can just tell she's beautiful, she's smart, she's passionate. When Natalie was 15 she was skiing, and just had a freak accident, which ended up breaking her neck, and causing her to be paralyzed from the neck down. The doctor basically said she wasn't going to walk again. She doesn't listen to authority. It's one of the things I've learned. Her mindset was-

Tana Amen: Oh my gosh.

Dr Daniel Amen: "I will show you."

Tana Amen: When I met Natalie ... I'm the one that hired her, I'm going to take credit for that.

Natalie Buchoz: Yes.

Tana Amen: I knew I had to hire her because she's such a fire cracker. When I heard this story of her, I saw pictures of her at 15. She could not move or feel from the neck down. You were such a cute little nugget.

Tana Amen: Oh yeah, with my braces and everything?

Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You were just so cute.

Tana Amen: Help me.

Tana Amen: She looked so sweet, and then I saw the next picture of you, was you walking, and it was more current. I'm like, "I have to hire this person." You just are so intense and you are so driven, and you refuse to let the accident or a chair or any person define you. I just love that.

Tana Amen: Yeah. It's been a really long crazy journey, and I think one of the most important things that I've learned is that ... I've learned a lot from you too, I think for me one of the things that I've always held with me, is that there is no person, there is no entity, nobody that can tell me what I'm capable of. If I have a neuroscientist that has 30, 40 years of medical experience telling me something, they don't know me. They don't know my drive, they don't know my attitude, they don't know my motivation and they don't know what I'm capable of. I've held that with me through high school, through college and through my career. It's gotten me here, and it's-

Tana Amen: What I like is that you use that attitude only to accomplish more. It's not like you're saying, "They don't know me and I can't accomplish that."

Tana Amen: No.

Tana Amen: It's always, "I can do better, I can do more than what you think I can."

Tana Amen: Oh for sure. It's something that has been built over a long period of time. That's why I love when Tanna talks about mindset and how important it is to continually tell yourself, whether it's what you want to do ... "I'm good enough to do this, or I'm good enough to do this." To keep practicing ways to do that.

Tana Amen: You also have insane, kick-ass mom.

Natalie Buchoz: I have an insane kick-ass family, all family, but yes-

Tana Amen: You do.

Natalie Buchoz: My mom is kick-ass.

Dr Daniel Amen: You've seen how our work really not only benefits you, but it benefits your sister-

Natalie Buchoz: Mm-hmm (affirmative). My dad.

Dr Daniel Amen: We did a whole story on that on social media, and your father.

Natalie Buchoz: My boyfriend.

Dr Daniel Amen: When you begin to fall in love with your brain, it just affects everybody. That you do, and I think one of the reasons you and I get along as well as we do, is we have similar health values.

Natalie Buchoz: Right.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr Daniel Amen: The health values are so important.

Natalie Buchoz: I think it's important too, because as a couple you're able to hold each other accountable.

Tana Amen: Yeah, oh yeah.

Natalie Buchoz: We talk a lot about goals here and-

Tana Amen: Support and accountability.

Natalie Buchoz: Support and accountability and what are ... Being really clear and concise about what does Tana want for herself. If Tana wants x, y, z, then how is Daniel as a partner, as a husband, as a friend going to help her get there? How is he going to help continually push her and motivate her. I think that's so important and you guys do that so well together.

Dr Daniel Amen: It wasn't always that way. When we first did the Brain Warriors Way, we were sort of fighting with each other a lot, on who was going to say what and when.

Tana Amen: Well not like about everything, it was more about, we didn't know how to work well together.

Dr Daniel Amen: We would interrupt each other. Now it wasn't what it could be.

Tana Amen: No.

Dr Daniel Amen: Then we switched-

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr Daniel Amen: We'd go, "Okay, what's the goal?" My goal was always to build her up and her goal was the same for me.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Dr Daniel Amen: With the podcast we actually have signals. If I'm talking too much she'll put her hand on my leg, which means, "Wrap it up."

Tana Amen: No, it means I want to make a point before you shift. It's like, "Let me make a point before we move on," and so we're able to do that now which is good.

Dr Daniel Amen: Yeah. If you see it as a problem to solve, rather than you call each other names which so many people do ... When I was younger, I could have been so much better in relationships.

Natalie Buchoz: I think talking about some of the difficult parts of relationships, what do you two do as a couple when you have difficult moments? When you don't agree on things? I think that's important to address too, because you've talked a lot about what you guys like about each other, and how you work together as a couple. How do you work together as a couple when things are difficult? Whether Tana does something that you don't like, or vice versa, or you don't see eye-to-eye on something? Tana?

Tana Amen: If it's something small, it's really not a big deal. Let's just talk about occasionally when we really butt heads.

Natalie Buchoz: Yeah.

Tana Amen: For me, here's what I do. I will walk away, because I don't want to fight. I will walk away, it takes me about 20 minutes, this is my process.

Natalie Buchoz: Right.

Tana Amen: It takes me about 20 minutes and during that time, I'm not sitting there like revving up more. During that time it's like, "Is this worth it?" It's like, "Does this have eternal value, what is it I really want? Then after the 20 minutes, I don't want to fight, and usually I've noticed, it takes him about the same amount of time. Neither one of us hold on to stuff. It's like we come back together, we talk about it or we just let it go, but either way, we both let it go. That's it, because we don't want to go on. Now for something we need to solve, then we talk about it then, but not when we're heated. My process is to walk away-

Dr Daniel Amen: We don't get heated, it's just very rare.

Tana Amen: Very rare, yeah.

Dr Daniel Amen: We're also really good at saying, "Sorry."

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Natalie Buchoz: That's so important.

Tana Amen: That's the best way to diffuse anything.

Dr Daniel Amen: Sometimes I'll say things that are just completely inappropriate. It's interesting, because sometimes she'll laugh, and other times she'll be offended.

Tana Amen: Now to me it's very clear when it's appropriate and when it's not, but to him it's not.

Dr Daniel Amen: I actually think it has to do with-

Tana Amen: It doesn't.

Dr Daniel Amen: Hormones.

Tana Amen: Yeah, no.

Dr Daniel Amen: Don't ever say that out loud.

Tana Amen: Don't ever say that out loud.

Dr Daniel Amen: Don't ever say it out loud. One of the things we're really good at is reflecting on our own behavior. As a psychiatrist, when I was a young psychiatrist I thought it took two to make a relationship work. Then I realized, it totally doesn't take two, it takes one. Most people are together because there's a foundation of love. If I can be the one that models forgiveness and kindness, then I'm much more likely to get that than if I hold on to a hurt, and I feel well, I'm entitled to hold on to this hurt, because you are x, y, or z. All that gets me is more hurt.

Tana Amen: Yeah, let me know if that works out for you.

Dr Daniel Amen: Yeah. Right, and I see married someone like this, it's like, "Let me know how that works out for you." I could engage this red-headed difficult person right?

Tana Amen: I am not a difficult person [crosstalk 00:08:35].

Dr Daniel Amen: I totally know how to make her ... I could in less than 20 seconds I can get her to scream at me.

Natalie Buchoz: We don't want that.

Dr Daniel Amen: I know how not to do that-

Tana Amen: Well actually I wouldn't scream, there's four words I would use. I'm not going to say them out loud.

Natalie Buchoz: Thank you. We don't need to [crosstalk 00:08:49].

Tana Amen: Actually there's three. One with a hyphen.

Natalie Buchoz: Is there anything that you guys would recommend to people that do butt heads a lot? Maybe it's a relationship question or maybe it's something that they can kind of start working on. Like you said Daniel, you used to think it made two people to make a relationship, but really it's only one. Is there anything that you would recommend?

Tana Amen: There are some people that, that doesn't work with, what we just talked about. There are just some people it doesn't work with. They need help, like medical help. I'm sorry-

Natalie Buchoz: Yeah.

Dr Daniel Amen: Well, we haven't talked about the brain really in all of this. That if your brain's obsessive, that it's very hard in relationships because you have to do everything perfectly or the other person's upset. That's so stressful.

Tana Amen: You're walking on eggshells all the time.

Natalie Buchoz: Right.

Dr Daniel Amen: If they've had a head injury, and there's two million new head injuries every year-

Tana Amen: They're volatile.

Dr Daniel Amen: They could be unpredictable.

Tana Amen: They're doing drugs.

Dr Daniel Amen: Impulsive. If they're doing drugs, or their doctor prescribed them the wrong medication, that could be problematic as well. Getting your brain right, and that what we talk about on the Brain Warriors Way all the time, is absolutely critical to getting your love right.

Tana Amen: Yeah.

Natalie Buchoz: Kind of switching gears a bit, to some of the things that ... We talked a lot about what you admire about Tana. We talked about some of the things that you guys love to do together, but let's talk a bit about being in a relationship. We talked a bit about conflicts and whatnot, and how you guys overcome those as well. What about if Tana wants to do something that you're not interested in doing? Or vice versa? How do you guys find common ground on things that your partner may really be excited about? Do you let them down easy, do you say, "Hey, take that one with a friend," or ... Talk a bit about that.

Tana Amen: We don't really have an issue with it.

Dr Daniel Amen: Well I think it depends. If you really don't want to do it, we'll go, "Well have a good time."

Tana Amen: Right, we give each other space.

Natalie Buchoz: "Enjoy it."

Tana Amen: "I'll miss you, I love you, and I'll miss you."

Dr Daniel Amen: Yeah, but if it's really important to them, we'll go, "Sweetie, this is really important to me. I want you to come to this event with me."

Tana Amen: Right, if it's like an event, yeah.

Natalie Buchoz: You're like, "Okay, I have to put-"

Tana Amen: He's not going camping.

Natalie Buchoz: "I have to put make-up on. Like yeah.

Dr Daniel Amen: Right, but if you said, "This is really important to me, I would really want you to go-"

Tana Amen: Are you going to go on a survival training with me?

Dr Daniel Amen: Absolutely.

Tana Amen: Are you going to get mock kidnapped?

Natalie Buchoz: I would love to see that.

Dr Daniel Amen: No. It's not happening.

Tana Amen: See, no one will go with me.

Natalie Buchoz: I don't want to go with you either.

Dr Daniel Amen: You may really, really, really want me to do it, and I'm going to really, really, really say, "No."

Tana Amen: Right, but I know he's going to say no.

Dr Daniel Amen: It's good to have good boundaries around-

Tana Amen: Right, but he doesn't stop me, and that's the thing. He scratches his head and rolls his eyes at me. He's like, "I provide this amazing life for you, why do you feel this need to go to this stuff," but he doesn't stop me from doing it.

Dr Daniel Amen: Yeah, why would you spend the night in a tent when there's a Four Seasons nearby, I just don't get it.

Natalie Buchoz: I know, I think the same thing, but I'm not a camper, so I agree with Dr. Amen on this one. Wrapping up this episode, we're going to come back and wrap up our talk, things that we learned about love, so stay tuned.

Tana Amen: If you're enjoying The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, please don't forget to subscribe so you'll always know when there's a new episode. While you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five-=star rating as that helps others find the podcast.

Dr Daniel Amen: For more information give us a call, at 855-978-1363.