Over the weekend, we had a resurgence of an episode relating to an older woman, let’s call her Jezebel, who has plagued our family over the last three years as an interfering busybody, gossip and manipulator.
It all started when we joined the youth group she runs. All four children joined and I volunteered as a leader. However, that stage didn’t last very long because the three youngest children did not enjoy the club, so they left after a year. I carried on volunteering for a while but I found her personality to be so manipulative and controlling that I couldn’t stand it and left as well. (One of the last evenings I was there, she very publicly and inappropriately dressed down her husband in front of the children, and I knew I didn’t want to be around that.)
There was also a huge problem with gossip, a serious lack of understanding of special needs and unbelievably, Jezebel was the ‘safeguarding officer’ for the club, which meant there was nobody to trust or to go to discreetly, an appalling situation for a children’s club.
My eldest son, nevertheless, seemed to enjoy it at first and went on camp with them two years in a row (although I could tell a couple of horror stories about that too), carrying on as a leader for another year. However, after having a breakdown at school, everything got too much for him and he decided to take a break from the club, and that was when the trouble really started as Jezebel wouldn’t accept no for an answer.
She visited the house uninvited multiple times, repeatedly gave me unsoliticed parenting advice, and then visited again once when I was out, and bullied eldest into agreeing to go back, although he was completely not ready or happy to do it. When I got home he was deeply distressed and so I asked her by text not to do it again. We exchanged a series of texts which became more and more heated and threatening and in the end I told her in no uncertain terms not to visit us again and to leave him alone and not contact us. I also contacted her superior to make him aware of the situation.
So this weekend, Jezebel called my husband’s phone (how sneaky is that!) and I happened to answer it, and the conversation was immediately hostile and ended with a threat of more interference at which point I put the phone down on her and contacted her superior again.
Later that evening I found another threatening text to which I responded that if the harassment didn’t stop I would be seeking legal advice. I am hoping that this will be an end to it now, but obviously if not I’ll be having to visit Citizens Advice or look into how to get a legal injunction against her.
In many ways we are a family in crisis right now. But interfering and gossiping about us is not kind or helpful. I am not sure what Jezebel hoped to achieve other than to undermine my parental authority, but hopefully we have beaten her at her own game as we’ve now reported her to her direct superior as well as the club’s head office.