My dad (Brian Wolferts) always obsessively monitored all communication with our mom. We had to ask his permission to call our mom, even if it was just to tell her how our day went, and most times he would tell us there was no reason we needed to contact her so we weren't allowed to. When we did call her, we had to be in the same room with him at all times so he was within earshot of every word.
After my dad moved the girls to Kansas (I had moved out six months previous), he continued to obsessively monitor all calls and Skype (video) calls between them and me/our mom. He limited their calls to 15-20 minutes once a week, and demanded such calls only happen using his cell phone when he was in the room to monitor what we said. Often he would manufacture reasons to cut their calls short, as he had always done even before the move. Sydney and Dani told me they could never express how they truly felt because he would punish them for almost anything they said.
CLICK "READ MORE" TO SEE MORE OF MY POST:
After these calls, Dad would grill us and lecture us angrily about things as finite as how our tone with Mom was better than our tone with him. (Of course, that continued after I moved out.) I remember one time in particular my senior year that I'd called mom. It was a rare occasion where I was able to tell her about my day. The call didn't last long, and as soon as I was off the phone my dad began the grilling. He tried to make me feel guilty by telling me that my tone with her was better, that I never talked to him about the things I talked to her about. All over simply telling my mom that I had a good day, and how excited I was for an upcoming project - a project that he already knew about because I lived with him and he had already been informed about it.
He was always angry at the fact that we loved our mom, and would oftentimes tell me that having a relationship with my mother wasn't healthy and in order to lead a good life I needed to cut her off completely. Those kinds of words are so detrimental to a child's well-being.
At night, all of us were required to plug our cell phones in to charge on the level of the home that was just below the level of Dad’s bedroom, and away from where our bedrooms were. Sometimes, we found our phones were unplugged and relocated. We would find that he had gone through our phones, and he would ask us many questions about texts that had been made, even if they were a simple text to a church leader or friend. He was always paranoid about everything we said to anyone.
Dad also monitored Angie's cell phone in much the same way as he monitored ours, except she was not allowed to question or monitor his. He wouldn't let her take her phone or purse with her into public restrooms or in places where she might be able to talk on her phone without him there to hear her and monitor her communications. Sydney and Dani told me on one of their two visits to Utah that one time they got separated at the zoo for hours because he demanded Angie not take her phone on the zoo train with her, and then he wandered away, so that when she got off the train, she was forced to walk around and look for them. When she finally found them, he was severely angry with her for daring to be upset with him for leaving her stranded without a way of contacting them, and making her have to walk miles to find them.
Our dad monitored his home in Utah in a strange way that seems over the top to most people: he had cameras set up along the entire perimeter of his house outside. I never could figure out what possible reason he could have to set up cameras to monitor his house. Every time he would get home from work or from being away from home, he would go straight into his office and check the recorded video surveillance to see what had happened while he was away. We knew this was what he was doing, because often he would come out and immediately grill us about why we had been talking to each other out in the yard, driveway, or walkway/street beyond the house. He always assumed we had been talking about him or doing something wrong, and he seemed to love to lecture and berate us about communicating with one another. But why does someone innocent need to record and know every single day who is coming or going outside his home? I would not be surprised if my dad has also installed cameras at his house in Kansas.
I have already described in detail some of the obsessive monitoring that we endured within our dad's house in my previous post Obsessive Control: Isolation. We were unable to interact normally as sisters because we were monitored so closely. We couldn't be alone in our rooms together, we couldn't do each others' hair, or even hug each other at bedtime.
One time, my sister Sydney opened the drawer to his bedside stand and inside was a complete copy of her personal journal and one of Dani's as well. She told me she was completely distraught because she thought she had hidden her journal well, keeping it in her school bag always. She was so freaked out and felt so violated by the fact he had gone through her bag while she slept and copied her private writings. Personal space and privacy violations really made us feel unsafe to process our distress and feelings in our journals about our experience--something that felt necessary especially since we couldn't confide in our mom about our distress like we wished to.
My dad's incessant obsession over all these things made it difficult for us to have a normal relationship with him, as much as we tried. He was always too caught up with who his daughters, Angie, ex-wife, and everyone else in his realm of control was talking to. He seemed constantly paranoid over every little thing we said to others, I think because he had extreme fear that any one of us might talk with someone about the way he treated us and expose his REAL SELF to the people who only saw him as the charming, nice man he acted like when the public could see him.
Even now, he monitors my every movement using the following methods:
- PIs who have gone to my former apartment (which I had to leave because I no longer felt safe after being harassed there), and who have barged in on and harassed my tenants in their bedrooms, on their walks, at their workplaces, and at my workplace multiple times
- internet websleuths who leave me and many of my supporters creepy, stalker-like comments and private messages
- stalkerish Mormon housewife supporters of my dad who have been trolling my social media accounts with nasty comments calling me a liar; have publicly copied and shared photos of me from my Instagram and Facebook accounts; have followed me around town and shared with my dad and each other my whereabouts; have speculated about the cars I drive and the cars I've put up for sale; have posted my sisters' missing persons flyers on my door and every door in my neighborhood; who claim to have installed GPS trackers on any vehicles I drive; and who have somehow gotten personal information about my future plans with my fiance and have issued vaguely threatening comments on Facebook about stalking me in the distant state where my fiance works to support our future goals
I believe all of these monitoring efforts are my dad's way of trying to scare me away from revealing him for the chronic abuser that he is. As you can see, it makes me more determined than ever to help my sisters be heard and protected officially by the courts.