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Navigating The Recovery Landscape: 7 Surprising Lessons From Observing Mynah Birds

By March 6, 2024No Comments
mynah birds

Mynah birds are social, mate-for-life, mimickers, and chatty, especially at dawn or dusk.

They interact well with humans and make great pets, especially the Hill Mynah. Brilliant birds, mynahs can learn to mimic phrases or words. Here is a fun fact from the Spruce Pets website: There are several names for the mynah bird in India. One name, kalahapriya, means one who is fond of arguments. 😀

Mynah birds are also territorial, conniving, and controlling.

You can’t put them in a cage with other birds because they will attack the others. Mynahs often overtake other bird nests in the wild by removing the eggs. “In 2008, they earned the notorious title of ‘The Most Important Pest/Problem’ in Australia and was one of only three birds to be included in the “Top 100 Worst Invasive Species’ by the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).” Talk about a reputation killer.

When it comes to recovery from discovering your partner’s porn struggles, you can learn some lessons from the mynah bird.

1. Social.

The mynah bird needs to be around other mynahs to flourish. This bird doesn’t do well in isolation. Neither do people.

One of the dangers Dave and I discovered we had lived with for years was isolation. It was difficult to admit the struggle and ask for help. Someone struggling with an addictive problem needs secrecy for the struggle to survive. The struggler fears another person finding out and judging them for struggling. I’ve been there, too. Afraid to reveal my struggle with suicidal depression.

However, God created you and me to be social creatures, to crave relationships. Look at the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis, where God tells us we are made in his image. This statement uses the plural “us,” hinting at the triune God concept. Later, God said it wasn’t good for the man (Adam) to be alone. Even though all the animals, birds, and crawly things had already been created, Adam didn’t have anyone just like him. God knew man needed woman and created Eve.

Shame fosters secrecy, which kills intimacy. To fully recover, the struggler and their spouse need to partner with another person or persons to gain perspective, counsel, and wisdom.

2. Mate-for-life.

I found this fact fascinating. Mynah birds are believed to stay together—one male and one female—throughout their life span. But these two mates are also part of a larger mynah community flock.

When it comes to recovery after discovering your husband’s porn struggle, you might struggle with whether or not your marriage will survive. Dave and I dealt with this, too. Honestly, I didn’t hold out much hope that we could or that he could leave the porn behind. Dave desperately wanted to save our relationship. Therefore, he was willing to do whatever was necessary to get help and heal from this pernicious struggle.

As God worked on us, he zeroed in on my vows. I wrote about this in my book, Choosing A Way Out. God challenged me to trust him first to do the work in Dave and me. God asked me to believe that he was able to do what I thought was impossible. No matter what, though, I had a choice. Sometimes, I made that choice several times a day, especially in the beginning. And God kept his word. He performed a miracle in Dave, in me, and in our marriage. I’m so grateful.

Some people make different choices. That choice is between God, you, and your husband. No one can make it for you. Need help processing what’s going on right now? Please reach out.

3. Mimic.

Mimicry takes practice. Lots of practice. For the mynah bird, a human needs to pick a word or a phrase and repeat it over and over so the bird can learn it (mimic). It’s intentional training over a long time.

When it comes to betrayal trauma recovery, you choose who you will mimic. Will you choose those who say, “Forgive your husband and move on?” Basically, this choice encourages you to stuff down the unresolved hurt and anger without finding hope or healing but adding shame and confusion. Eventually, the wound will open with a vengeance.

You may follow the pattern of those who tell you to walk away. “You’re better off without him,” they say. “Don’t spend the time, money, or energy on that loser any longer. You deserve better.” This attitude is another way to stuff the issue and carry your hurt, confusion, and other mess into a new relationship.

Then, some pretend nothing happened. This thought process involves distancing yourself from the trauma far enough that you don’t recognize it happened. Or so you think. You rationalize that getting back to normal will restore peace in your relationship. It might for a bit. Until the next discovery.

Or you may recognize that your relationship needs help. It’s time for radical change. You decide you will do whatever is necessary to become whole and healed. You want to mimic those who’ve successfully navigated their recovery to a healthy place.

4. Chatty.

There are two times of day that Dave and I love to chat: dawn and dusk. It wasn’t always that way.

When we first married, Dave liked to stay up later at night than I, while I rose earlier than he. Our kids tell stories of their dad reading books or playing with them after dinner while I cleaned up the kitchen, often falling asleep wherever they were. I can still hear one or another of their voices, “Maaa-ahhh-mm! Dad’s asleep again.” 😀 To this day, Dave often takes a quick nap around 6:30 pm. It’s like his body needs a mini-energy boost. We joke about it often.

During the first years of our recovery from his porn struggle and my depression, our counselor and coaches encouraged us to spend time talking together in the evening. We asked each other two questions:

How are you doing?
How are we doing?

These open-ended questions provided the impetus for learning more about each other than what happened during the day. Our guidelines:
➡️ No one-word answers like “fine”
➡️ Answers need to reflect your thoughts and feelings
➡️ Ask good follow-up questions
➡️ Focus on building the intimate connection between each other’s heart, mind, and soul
➡️ Each person asks the same starting questions to the other

These days, we love watching a sunrise together (yes, we both rise early now) and “ease into the day,” as Dave says. ❤️ He sips his coffee while I enjoy my tea. We talk quietly about the coming day, read our Bibles, and pray together. We often use these two questions in the evening to springboard our conversation. Each intentional interaction builds intimacy. Funny how we never run out of things to talk about.

5. Territorial.

Do you, like the mynah bird, mark your territory and threaten anyone who tries to enter? This could be a good thing. For instance, if another woman tries to flirt with your husband, you can let her know that he’s taken and not to be messed with.

But the mynah bird becomes rather vicious when territorial. It’s been known to take over another’s territory and clear out the nest. That area didn’t belong to the mynah bird, to begin with. But they took over anyway.

Getting territorial in recovery can be positive or negative. When you establish healthy personal boundaries, you develop positive ways to interact with yourself, your husband, and others. Many women ask how they can change their husbands. Unfortunately, that question steps into territory that isn’t theirs.

6. Conniving.

Has anyone ever poked at you long enough that you exploded? How did you feel? What happened? How did that benefit the relationship?

Often, conniving involves reputation management. When navigating the murky waters of recovery, you might wander into trying to make yourself look better and him worse. For instance, when we first revealed the crisis we faced, I forced my husband to tell the story. After all, he’s the one who looked at porn. True, but conniving at the same time. Now that I look back, I realize my motive behind that desire was to paint him in a bad light, make him feel worse than he already did, and help me look more injured. Or so I reasoned.

All those pokes did was cause more pain and tear apart our relationship. I justified my motives out of a deep wound. I weaponized little pieces of truth against Dave. But I also discovered that those conniving darts only hurt me more.

7. Controlling.

Goes hand-in-hand with conniving. Mynah birds attack others who get in their space. They police their territory so other birds can’t enter.

Often, when you experience the devastation from betrayal trauma, you grasp control of everything you possibly can. What is he looking at? Where did he go after work? Did he get to work in the allotted time after leaving home? Who called him? And on and on it goes. I get it. On those days when I feel vulnerable again, those controlling thoughts flood back in. You become the cop AND the mom rather than the wife.

Part of the recovery process involves learning to change what you can control. Then, leave the rest up to God to handle. When I find myself clenching my jaw about something my husband does or doesn’t do that I don’t think is the best, I often practice opening and stretching my hands wide. This action reminds me that I don’t control anything but myself. Then, I ask God to step into this situation with his solution. The open hands remind me to release what I’m trying to control.

You can apply positive or negative lessons from the mynah bird to your recovery.

Which of the positive lessons need some work in your life? The first lesson I needed to learn was believing change was possible. Dave could recover, and so could I. Hearing the words “this does not have to be fatal to your marriage” provided hope for a different future. After working on what I could change—me–and getting the help we needed, life is so much better. Not perfect. Just better.

Look at those negative lessons from the mynah bird. Where do you struggle the most?
Mine continues to be “control.” Therefore, I practice that open-hand exercise a lot. 🤦‍♀️ God reminds me daily that he knows where I am and who I am. He invites me to trust him with even the little irritating things in my life.

What do you mimic in this recovery process?

Do you struggle to believe that change is possible? Please grab a free copy of this download: ]Then, let me help you take a deep breath. Schedule a free session today.

  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.

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