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Old 02-11-2018, 12:44 PM
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Re: need help, guidance for my girl Kali

You are in a tough position, but things are what they are. I wish there were a miracle cure.

If you do decide to go ahead with rehoming, you might consider an older person, not a young couple. Young people have a lot of enthusiasm, but they also have a lot of potential priority changes ahead such as jobs, homes, babies, or health issues. Sailboat wrote a heartbreaking story about Oliver, whose parents were (ill)advised by their doctor to give him away when they were expecting a baby. It did not end well for Oliver. A middle aged person, someone who is relatively settled in life, who has a steady income, who has the maturity and/or life experience to emphasize with Kali and who cares about her quality of life might be a better fit.

Most rescue organizations have adoption forms that specify important details. The adopter must promise to take the bird to the vet every year, to feed it properly, house it properly, treat it properly, agree to a home visit now and then, and to return the bird to the rescue if they can't keep it any more. I don't know how enforceable these "contracts" are. Maybe if the person made a sizable security deposit, and then every year they get some of it back providing the bird's life passes inspection? Maybe backed up by home visits or vet reports? Like a prenup.

Kali should also be microchipped in case she winds up at large or lost, at least they can track you down. Be sure to put info on the chip that doesn't change, like a permanent email address and not just a phone number.

Would it work to make this downstairs living room space into a private space for your wife, so she could have someplace nice and quiet to herself? I don't know where you are - is the climate suitable to building a weatherproof, climate controlled aviary/addition onto the house where Kali could stay? Like part of a porch or deck?

Sometimes people dig in their heels. If your wife has been complaining about aspects of Kali's presence for years and feels she is being ignored, or that her feelings are not as important as yours or Kali's, perhaps dislike has turned to hatred, and morphed from "hatred of the situation" to "hatred of Kali" in which case it's difficult to move forward.

Don't ask me how I know this, but there are two other interesting philosophies. There's a book called "His Needs, Her Needs", I forget the author, but he had the idea that love was like a bank. Doing something that your partner likes and appreciates is like depositing money in a bank. Doing something that your partner dislikes is like making a withdrawal. Most people start out by making lots of deposits ... they do things for one another and build up a good balance so they fall in love. But if one or both start doing things that irritate, anger, disrespect, etc. then the balance can get overdrawn quickly, and this destroys love. I thought it made a lot of sense. He had some suggestions for figuring out what is important to the other person so you can meet their needs, and for communicating your needs. If you guys are in a situation where Kali's presence has caused so much irritation that it affects your relationship, it doesn't mean that she has to go to restore the balance. It means SOMETHING has to change, to build up love in some other way.

The other philosophy comes in here .. again, a book called "Love Languages" ... love means different things to different people. Some people feel love when they are given gifts, some feel loved when you do something for them like wash the car, some need conversation, some need smooches. Everyone is different. If your partner sees "gifts" as love, and instead of a gift you give them a smooch or a car wash - because that's what love means to YOU - they don't see your action as loved. Your partner can feel deeply unloved, even if you think you are showering them with love, because that isn't their gestalt. The author gives an example of a man whose wife's thing was gifts, so he decided to bring her a present every day. It could have been a single rose, or a card, or a pretty rock .. the value didn't matter. It was just the giving of a thing every day. They went from let's-call-the-lawyers-right-now to second honeymoon territory. For Kali to stay, you MUST find some way to get love into the relationship right now.

I know this is a lot of talk about love and relationship which doesn't seem that applicable to parrots. But love underpins all. Why do you want to keep Kali? Because you love her. Love doesn't fix everything - we still need money and food and air - but it's right up there. You can't have happiness if you don't have love. This crisis you guys are in - it's an opportunity. It is a chance for you two to sit down and really communicate, reach deep and decide how important you are to one another, and forge a deeper connection. Or break up. Not all relationships survive the crisis. Don't ask me how I know. It takes two. If she doesn't want to work on it, doom. If you don't want to work on it, doom. I am a big fan of doing the work of love.

Another good point the first guy had was the "philosophy of enthusiastic agreement" meaning you don't do anything you don't both agree to wholeheartedly. If you give up Kali under duress, and don't agree to it, you will harbor resentment for a long time. It might poison the relationship. You have to agree that it's the best thing for everyone, including Kali, and do it willingly. Conversely, if your wife feels forced to live with an unpleasant situation, then she's not in agreement. She will have resentment and anger, that might poison the relationship. So the power struggle is doomed. There's no way for one of you to win without the other losing.

The only way through a power struggle is to find a way around. Don't keep fighting the same fight. Step around the fight. Find something else, other than moving Kali out of the house, to bring in love and harmony. Find something so humungous that Kali's presence becomes a minor, tiny thing. You have to work it out together. If you ask your wife to put up with the huge annoyance that another person's parrot can be, you have to pony up something in return. She knows what it is. Can you get her to tell you?

And there are half measures. What if Kali had a temporary vacation out of the house, long enough to bring other issues to light, so it's obvious that she wasn't the whole problem? You could see how you feel ... maybe you would be surprised to feel a sense of relief, of less tension. You would both learn something from the experience.

If there are real mental health issues it makes things worse. Sometimes a person has a real problem. Shyness or anger or BPD or Asperger's or OCD, whether caused by life experience or body chemistry, interfere with a "normal" relationship. If one or both people don't communicate, it's a disaster. For example, once I thought a person had some personality disorder that prevented them from connecting emotionally to others. The lack of communication was so bad I had to try to guess what was going on. Turns out they just weren't in love with me, and didn't want to hurt MY feelings, and were trying to be stoic about it because that's what you're supposed to do, right? It took an enormous loss to bring us so close to the edge that honest words were spoken. Even hurtful honest words are better than soft lies. And lo and behold, we made it across the abyss. Things weren't perfect, but a kind of trust and commitment came out of the experience. My mind-reading was totally off. There wasn't a deep psychological defect at work in either of us, just human insecurity and fear and defensiveness and ignorance. Maybe it's the same with you two ... it could be depression and mental illness, or it could be those are symptoms of some deeper disconnect.

I do encourage you to explore this together. Don't view Kali as a problem, a fly in the ointment. View her as a symptom of an underlying issue, and get to the heart of it. Life is short! Don't waste it in pain and turmoil. If Kali were a child, you wouldn't ... wait, that's a thought. What if Kali were a disabled child, someone who would require total care for the rest of her life and never mature? (Not far from reality, actually.) This happens to people. A parent may love their disabled child and yet not be willing to give up the rest of their life to be a caretaker, and if the parents feel differently you can imagine the stress. There are other forums for parents of, and partners of parents of, disabled children. You might find useful ideas there. It's not that different a situation.

One more thing ... have you thought of changing Kali's name? Kali is a goddess of death and destruction. Could be some subconscious undertones there, and maybe a sweeter name wouldn't hurt.

I hope you find your way through this. It's a terrible place to be. I hope that love and light find their way into the house, soon, and that you all live happily ever after. Don't give up.
Kentuckienne, the Amazonienne sidechick.
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