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to expect other leader to show me respect?

(40 Posts)
Mistressmiggins Tue 02-Apr-13 17:02:11

I am Tawny owl in a local brownie troop. The Brown owl is "leader in charge" as she likes to keep reminding me. It just feels like she wants to do everything and I'm just another helper.

She "delegates" tasks to me and then spends her weekend emailing me checking up. I'm not allowed to tidy the cupboard because she needs to know what is in there. Last week she asked all the others if they could make today for planning meeting and then said to me "you cant make it can you" In other words deliberately picked a night I couldn't make. I organised a sleep over last summer but the stress and hassle I got from her means I cant face doing it again. If I make suggestions, she puts them down unless the others agree.

We even had to have mediation over this but I came away feeling she didn't think she was doing anything wrong.
It sounds petty I know but its really getting me down. Its meant to be fun and giving to the community but it feels like bullying.

My husband wants me to give up but while I'm at brownies I really enjoy being with the girls. Also my DD goes to same pack so she is upset I'm thinking of leaving. Just not sure what to do.

ParadiseChick Tue 02-Apr-13 17:04:22

Can you go to another pack?

Mistressmiggins Tue 02-Apr-13 17:06:06

there is another pack whose leader is retiring but its on same night as my current one at slightly earlier time. That means Id struggle to get DD to current one and she doesnt want to move because of all her friends.

anonymosity Tue 02-Apr-13 17:07:33

It does sound a bit like bullying. She's at least being heavy-handed. I think if its possible to agree that certain aspects are your domain, that might help. Is this something you can discuss and agree on?

ParadiseChick Tue 02-Apr-13 17:07:45

Ah I see.

Sounds horrible. I've volunteered with a brownie pack before and didn't take it any further because of the bitchiness between the adults!

LindyHemming Tue 02-Apr-13 17:09:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mistressmiggins Tue 02-Apr-13 17:10:11

we've tried discussing it but she just turns it round on me.
This has been going on for over a year now which is why I just feel I will have to quit and that makes me sad.

Mistressmiggins Tue 02-Apr-13 17:11:16

Euphemia - I have thought about sticking it out but it will be til next summer.
Rainbows are too young for me.

Its sad really.

BackforGood Tue 02-Apr-13 17:14:39

Get in touch with your DC and say you'd like to help at Brownies but are finding the controlling attitude of this Brown Owl a bit stifling - is there anywhere else locally that could use you ?
I'm sure she'll bite your hand off.

LindyHemming Tue 02-Apr-13 17:15:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pandemoniaa Tue 02-Apr-13 17:16:14

I've recently left a group precisely because it was impossible to deal with the control imposed by so-called leaders. It was a difficult decision to make but DP focussed my mind when he said that the activity was supposed to be enjoyable and rewarding. So if this was an impossible achievement given the petty level of control, why was I there in the first place?

Unfortunately, my experience has taught me that you can't mediate successfully with people who genuinely need to control everything. They honestly don't think they are doing anything wrong. I suspect your Brown Owl is one of these people. So unless you can agree a fair division of tasks then you'll continue to feel undermined, bullied and that you can't give your best.

I'd leave, tbh. Your dd could always continue at this pack but in any case she won't be at Brownies forever.

badguider Tue 02-Apr-13 17:20:28

If the other pack is going to be missing a leader when their one retires then talk to your DC about going there and changing the time.

When we changed our guide night we thought parents would freak out but in the end we only lost one girl. Parents understand if the time has to change for the leaders.

It's best of both worlds if you get away and the other pack which needs a new leader gets a new leader. (Also, your DD might enjoy the independence of you being at another pack as she gets older).

p.s. I'm speaking as a pregnant guide guider who is DESPERATE for a leader to take over after summer as I can't continue with a newborn so please please don't let this one woman stop you volunteering with the organisation in another pack.

Mistressmiggins Tue 02-Apr-13 17:20:52

thanks ladies.
What you have said makes a lot of sense (and pleases my DH as hes being saying it for weeks)
Ironically Brown Owl is a lot older than me and very meek (in front of everyone else) which is why I have put up so long and felt I was doing something wrong.

I will attend the planning meeting tonight and if it feels too much, I will just say I have work commitments.

Backforgood I have spoken to the DC who suggested I consider moving packs to run this other one but logistically I cant do it.

Mistressmiggins Tue 02-Apr-13 17:22:16


my DH said the same - surely parents would swap nights if it meant the pack could continue.

I dont want to give up and after everyones kind comments, I will give it some thought.

RobotLover68 Tue 02-Apr-13 17:25:13

Lovey, if you've had to have mediation there isn't much hope in the first place - she isn't going to change. Yes, it is supposed to be fun, cos the wages are crap grin

I like badguider's suggestion. I'm a Cub Leader and I would certainly make changes for myself under those circumstances

JenFreggle Tue 02-Apr-13 17:36:03

Move to the other unit. We changed Guide night once, we lost some girls but had others join. If it is explained to the parents that it is either change or the unit has to close then I'm sure that they will be ok with it. Also agree that it is probably better for your daughter to be in a different unit to you.

LindyHemming Tue 02-Apr-13 18:06:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RainbowRabbit33 Tue 02-Apr-13 18:20:04

Hold on in there, it's not always like that (although more common than people will admit). I was in the same position for eight years. Yep, I'm a mug. I was exactly the same as you, loved it whilst I was there, but hated everything else. Our leader in charge finally retired and it all changed overnight.

I completely agree with badguider - assuming your DC is understanding of the situation. One of the reasons that I had to stick it for so long is that the various DCs we had over that time all sympathised, but would do nothing to actually help me. It sounds like you're in a better position as you've had mediation, albeit unsuccessful.

I hope the next bit comes across properly when written down, I'm not trying to excuse her behaviour at all.

A couple of years after she retired, I took over as Unit Guider. There is so much to do! Although I had done Module 4 of the ALQ, it wasn't any real preparation for doing it on my own. I had two adults that volunteered to come and help me, and I was so grateful, I tried to do everything myself in case it put them off staying. They are both now here to stay, but I'm finding it hard to let go as so many of the processes and jobs seem to be interlinked.

I can see myself in some of the behaviours you describe (although not to the same extent!). I get so stressed that my unit will be badly thought of in the District that I try to overcompensate, which is another reason not to let go. I hope I hide my worries well enough that the other leaders don't know, and as I have to do a lot of negotiation at work, I hope I treat people fairly.

Don't let any of that put you off being Unit Guider for the other unit, I couldn't give up Rainbows ever, I've voiced the inner fears (bearing in mind I am on medication for anxiety as well) rather than day to day genuine problems.

You've got exactly the right perspective, it's supposed to be about the girls knowing and growing (or whatever the new strap line is), but that doesn't mean it should make us miserable. Remind me of that after I've been to a noisy meeting and come home begging for wine!

Mistressmiggins Tue 02-Apr-13 19:57:35

that went really badly.
I have seen tonight her true colours.
She was manipulative and vindictive. She said things like "I was here first", "I'm never leaving so think about that". She clearly does have a problem with me.

I will have to leave because too much has been said.

Sad thing is that I genuinely havent bad mouthed her to the DC and was hoping for more support. I cant believe she has been as kind about me.

not sure about taking on another troop as lack of support from DC concerns me

JenFreggle Tue 02-Apr-13 20:08:51

That's awful. If you don't feel you have the support of the dc then how about a neighbouring district?

Mistressmiggins Tue 02-Apr-13 20:22:08

feel too hurt after today
worst thing is not being able to say goodbye to all my brownies sad

will give it a rest and see

LindyHemming Tue 02-Apr-13 20:27:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RobotLover68 Tue 02-Apr-13 20:27:29

Wow! I wasn't expecting that - such a shame but do what's right for you

Mistressmiggins Tue 02-Apr-13 20:33:02

robotlover68 I think today I am just too upset.
Stupidly went thinking it would be ok but it wasnt.
I have emailed the DC and told her Im considering the move but worried about lack of support.
will see....

RobotLover68 Tue 02-Apr-13 21:12:19

Sorry, I meant I wasn't expecting her to be so aggressive. She sounds awful, I wouldn't blame you for jacking it in. No-one should be treated like that.

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