What To Do When You Have the Same Fight Over & Over

Here at the Stop The Drama! Campaign Doc Robyn often receives emails asking for advice.  The email below came in this week and we thought it and Doc Robyn’s response might be helpful to more than just the sender.  Here’s a shout-out to the person who was brave enough to ask the question.  We hope her strength is your gain.

Original email (In its entirety, names removed):

I just watched your video on how to make a point productively, and I have a couple of questions for you.

My boyfriend and I have been together almost a year. We love each other very much but have contradicting viewpoints on quite a few topics. For example, I have an almost irrational fear of being cheated on (every relationship I have been in, apart from one, has ended with the man leaving me for another woman), and like to be updated about his personal life, simply for my own benefit and reassurance. However, he is intent on keeping his private life private, to the point he jerks his phone out of my hands should I touch it. I can understand it, really, but my fear keeps me from being able to handle this productively, and it often ends in a screaming match.

I should point out that we do live together, and he’s almost always at home, so if he’s talking to other girls, it.would be at school or online. Anyway, I have tried to explain my fear to him, and he says that if I can’t trust him fully I am “going to lose him by my own doing”. This also often ends in a fight where I have to stomp out of the room to cool down so that it won’t escalate further. After we cool off, I have tried once or twice to talk again, this time more calmly, and he will have none of it.

I genuinely feel like this man is my soul mate for many reasons, and am intent on keeping it together. Do you have any suggestions on how to discuss this in a way that will not start a fight?

He also says, during these arguments, when I ask him to level with me, that he won’t change for anyone, not even me. It hurts my feelings when he says that, as I have changed the majority of my life to accommodate his needs. Any advice on this?

I’m sorry for the lengthy email, and I thank you very much for the reply.

Doc Robyn’s reply:

Thank you for your email.  It is always nice to hear that people are finding my videos helpful.

There is SO much in your email that I could respond to.  Certainly if you were a client we would to explore all of it.  There is no way we can do that via email.  Since you stated that your goal is to make this relationship work, I will respond with that in mind.

Here are a few questions you might want to consider:

  1. When in an intimate relationship with and living with someone, what does it mean to you to have a “private life”?
  2. What expectations do you have about what he should share and what is okay for him to keep to himself?
  3. What do you share and what do you keep to yourself? Are the expectations the same on both sides?
  4. How much of your concerns are really about his behavior (he jerks the phone out of your hands) and how much if it is leftover “stuff” from other relationships?

I would also like to share a tidbit from my life –  I have always lived by the motto “If she can get him she can have him because if he’ll leave he’s not worth keeping.”  And before you assume I feel that way because I have never been cheated on let me assure you that is not the case.  I have been and badly.  It is important for you to realize there is NOTHING you can do to create a healthy, monogamous relationship with someone who doesn’t want one with you.  It is your job to defend your relationship from the men who hit on you.  It is HIS job to defend the relationship from women who hit on him (this also assumes neither of you is actually chasing others). 

A healthy relationship does not involve bouts of screaming, yelling, fighting, crying, demanding and making up.  A good relationship is work.  But it isn’t hard and it isn’t ever miserable.  You deserve to be loved by someone who wants to love you, who cares about you enough to really be there emotionally for you and who is willing to earn your trust.  Is your BF that man for you?  If yes, then enjoy who he is and what you have and stop nagging him about who he’s not and what you don’t.  If he is not, find someone who is. He isn’t going to change.

As always, I wish you the most from your potential!

Doc Robyn

Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known conflict resolution expert, motivational speaker and executive wordsmith.  As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence in all aspects of life through active leadership, powerful teamwork, effective communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills.  She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time.  To work with her one-on-one, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, please contact her here.

Dan Tudor Loves Doc Robyn!

The Secret to Making Your Point without Being Aggressive

There is a single solution that will keep your discussions from turning into win-lose face-offs: Make the other person feel their contribution is understood and respected.  If you are purposeful about it, making it happen isn’t hard.  Here are the foundational points you will need:

Listen first! – If you are thinking about what you want to say or that the other person is just wrong, you aren’t really listening to what they have to say.  It doesn’t matter how much you disagree or how wrong you think they are, don’t let your emotions run away with you.  Take notes on what they are saying if you need help staying focused.

Create a no interruption norm – If there was a transcript made of the conversation would there be hyphens or periods at the end of each person speaking.  If you listen without interrupting you have a leg to stand on when you request that someone not interrupt you.

Make it clear you understand – Start your rebuttal (for lack of a better word) by saying “I understand your key points are….  I have concerns about….”  Making it clear you understand but disagree will help keep the other person from interrupting you to repeat themselves (Particularly if they are the type of person who thinks if you don’t agree with them you must not have heard them and says the same thing, only louder.)

Request to be heard – Keeping your cool when someone is trying to escalate a discussion into an argument is challenging.  It is also the one thing that will keep the conversation from spiraling into a stalemate.  Calmly use statements that point out the direction the conversation is going without accusing.  “I’m getting the feeling you don’t want to hear my thoughts.”  “Nate (using their name makes it personal), I’d like to finish my point so all the information is on the table for a productive conversation… (Continue your thought).

Show that you are on the same side – “I know we are both passionate about reaching the best solution.  In that spirit, I’d like to continue my point (Don’t wait for permission.  If the floor was yours, keep going.)

End the conversation – This is a bold and last ditch move that is very powerful.  “Sue (yes, use their name again), if we aren’t here to share and listen to differing opinions in order to make the best choice there is no reason for us to continue this conversation.  I understand where you are coming from and disagree.  If you would like to hear my ideas on how I believe we can make a better decision, let’s set up time to talk about it again later.”

It is IMPORTANT that you are never demeaning, patronizing or rude throughout this exchange.  The point is not to insult or demoralize the other person; quite the opposite.  The point is to have your voice heard and have a meaningful exchange.  The entire foundation of creating productive conflict is listening to and understanding the other person.  Doing that first gives you the power to confidently request it in return.

If you have a question you would like Doc Robyn to answer, leave a comment or email here at [email protected]

Wishing you the most from your potential!




How to Generate Productive Team Discussion

Getting your team to talk to each other and discuss how to be a more cohesive, successful team can be a challenge.  I recently received an email from a coach who, along with other coaches and some of their athletic administration, is reading “Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams”.  Their goal is to generate meaningful conversation.  In the email she asked me what questions I thought they should ask each other.  There are two ideas I shared with her I wanted to pass along to you.


One – When I share a tip or idea it is common for people to think “I know someone who can use that!”  Instead of jumping to other people who need help, think about how you might apply the idea in your own life.  Being able to understand and apply the idea yourself is the first step to being able to explain it and help others.


Two – Try to come up with real examples where effective communication or conflict resolution didn’t happen and talk about how it might have turned out differently if a specific tip was used.  It is always easier to think about something tangible (that really happened) rather than in the abstract.  Just be careful not to point fingers or cast blame during the discussion process.


If you are using my book to create meaningful conversation on your team, I would love to hear about it.  Email me at [email protected].  And if you have a question you are encouraged to email me as well.


Thank you for watching my video.  I look forward to seeing you again in the future and I wish you the MOST from your potential.

Why Nice Teams Finish Last

Very often I hear from teams that everything is “fine”.  They don’t argue or really have any issues with each other.  Then I get them talking to each other and we learn there are problems, it’s just that no one is talking about them.

Too many teams think if they aren’t nice to each other they have to be mean.  I disagree. Instead, rethink your idea of “nice”.  Is it nice to let a teammate walk around with poppy seeds in her teeth?  No of course not.  It might be embarrassing to say something but it is nicer than not saying anything.  The same is true of any team or interpersonal problem.  Not talking about it is easy but isn’t nice.

Have a conversation with your team about what nice really means.  It will help them get on the road to talking about the things that are important rather than burying them until they explode.

If you would like more information on this topic you can read my Champion Performance Topic of the Week here: http://champperformance.com/archives/1972

If you have a question you would like me to answer please email me: [email protected]

Thanks for watching! I wish you the most from your potential!

Stop Role Ambiguity from Stealing Your Potential

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to 1100 coaches at a coaches’ convention.  Several coaches came up to ask me my thoughts on the challenges they are having on their team.  One issue that many teams struggle with is role ambiguity; which means individuals on the team are not clear where their job starts and stops and what other people are supposed to be doing.  This can cause two people to be working on the same thing and other things to be dropped through the cracks.  To solve this problem, I encourage coaches to write out specifically what is the difference between the job of the head coach and the first assistant?  What about the first assistant and the second assistant?  And where do captains fit into the mix?  Why do you have those different titles and what do they mean?  If you haven’t taken the time to define the responsibilities that go with the titles, each person will make up what they think it means.  Those assumptions are where problems can arise.

Take the time to specify what you think each person’s role is and then have a conversation with your team.  Once everyone is on the same page, the confusion over who is doing what will be greatly diminished.

I hope you found that tip helpful.  If you have a question you would like me to address, please email me at [email protected].

I look forward to seeing you in future videos and I wish you the most from your potential!

Sorry about the lighting in this video guys.  I usually use natural sunlight but it was pouring rain today and I didn’t want you to have to wait any longer for another video!

Doc Robyn’s Top Tip for Increasing Mental Toughness

Lately I have been following #MentalToughness on Twitter and have been very disappointed with what I have been seeing.  Athletes and even coaches talking about running until they make themselves sick or getting up in the middle of the night to take an ice bath.  Anything you do physically will not increase your mental toughness.  It may show that you have it, or break you if you don’t but it won’t change it.  Increasing your mental toughness is about changing how your mind works in stressful situations and where your focus is.  When I give presentations on this subject one of the skills I teach is the difference between evaluation and performance.  Evaluation is looking backwards to determine how something went and how it might be improved or repeated.  Performance is about looking forward and actually doing something.  Your brain can only do one at a time.  However, how often have you thought in the middle of a game “that was dumb; I wonder if coach is going to pull me out of the game” or “that was great; I wonder if I can do that again”?  Those are evaluation thoughts.  To perform at your peak you need to being thinking exclusively about what you need to do in the next 10 seconds.

I hope you find that tips on increasing your mental toughness helpful.  If you have a question or a topic you would like me to address, feel free to email me at [email protected], comment below or use the contact us page.  I look forward to seeing you in future videos and I wish you the most from your potential.

Totally a side note – how can it be that in all three thumbnails for this week’s video my eyes were closed?!?!



Jealousy: The Ugly, Green Eyed Monster

Jealousy is something many coaches see on their teams.  However, a lot of emotions are labeled jealousy that aren’t.  When an athlete believes they work just as hard (or harder) and are just as talented (or more talented) than someone else and the other person is given more playing time or the starting spot an athlete will be disappointed or frustrated.  Jealousy occurs when someone thinks they deserve something that they haven’t worked for.  For example, I might be jealous of Bill Gates’ money.  I haven’t put in the investment of time, energy, blood, sweat and tears that he has to earn the money he has.

If you have an athlete who is legitimately jealous, sit down with her and outline what she needs to do to deserve more playing time or that starting spot.  It is extremely important that you are honest about the possibility of her achieving what she wants.  It might be, no matter how hard she tries she won’t get there (I could give 100% to trying to play in the NFL – not going to happen).  Setting appropriate expectations will go a long way to easing jealousy.

I hope you find that tip helpful.  If you have a question you would like me to answer, leave a comment below or email me at [email protected].

Thanks for watching and I wish you the most from your potential!

Know When to Take an Emotional Timeout


Today Doc Robyn finishes up the video series on the Seven No-Fail Secrets to Stop The Drama! with the final secret, Know when to call an emotional timeout and use it.  All too often as a conversation turns into a confrontation and things began a downward spiral it feels like there is nothing we can do about it.  As soon as you realize a conversation is becoming harmful instead of helpful, take a timeout.  Let the other person know you would like to continue talking about the issue but right now you are not in a place to do so productively.  Set a time to have another discussion after you have cooled off.  That might mean in two hours or two days.  Take time to walk around the block and get yourself back to a level headed place.  This will help you not say things you will later regret.


Let me know in the comments if you found that tip helpful.  If you would like to have a copy of all seven secrets you can download them from the bottom of the home page.  If you have a question you’d like me to answer on my video blog, you can send me an email at DocR[email protected].


I look forward to seeing you in future videos and I wish you the most from your potential!

Create Team Vocabulary – No-Fail Secrets Series 6 of 7

Hi! I’m Doc Robyn, founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign.  Today I am continuing the conversation about the Seven No-Fail Secrets to Stop The Drama!  You can download your copy of all seven secrets from the bottom of the home page.

Today we are talking about the sixth secret “Create and use a team vocabulary”.  The words we use convey only 10% of our meaning.  The other 90% is made up of what the listener infers from the situation and the body language. The word ‘respect’ is one that often means different things to different people.  I worked with a team with an athlete who would yell ‘FOCUS’ during games.  She wasn’t trying to suggest her teammates weren’t focused or to be rude.  She was trying to encourage her teammates to play to their full potential.  Unfortunately, that isn’t what her teammates heard.  Take the time to have a conversation with your team about what specific words mean in specific situations. It will help eliminate misunderstandings and reduce team drama.

I hope you found that tip helpful.  I look forward to seeing you in future videos and I wish you the MOST from your potential.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer, email me at [email protected]