The Contreras Family
Shannon and Cesar met when they were in their early twenties and got married. When Shannon was pregnant with the couple’s second child, Savannah, Cesar left her for another woman. Shannon has never forgiven him for this. Over the next 13 years, the couple has separated and reunited over ten times. Each time they separated, it was because Cesar left her. The two now have six children but are more estranged than ever.
Shannon believes that Cesar is irresponsible and is scared that he will leave the family permanently. She is very critical of everything he says and does. Cesar reacts to Shannon’s criticism by doing the exact opposite of what she wants him to do. If she wants him to make more money, he’ll take off work and make nothing. As a result, the family is constantly struggling to make rent and has to borrow from Shannon’s mother just to make ends meet.
Shannon Contreras is a 31 year-old homemaker and mother of six. She and her husband, Cesar, have been separated over ten times. Cesar says that he can’t stand Shannon’s nagging. Shannon says she can’t stand Cesar’s irresponsibility. So they fight constantly. Shannon criticizes Cesar and Cesar takes off.
Shannon is angry that Cesar doesn’t work harder to make money and take care of the family. She’s at the end of her rope. If he doesn’t prove himself to be responsible financially, she will leave him and take all six children with her.
Cesar Contreras is a 34 year-old mechanic and father of six. Over the years, he has had numerous auto shops but each one has failed. He has no business sense. He’s never opened a checking account and has no idea how much money is coming in and going out of the shop. He’s been robbed several times and barely has enough money each month to pay rent.
His wife, Shannon, nags him constantly about being more responsible which irritates him to no end. The more she nags, the more irresponsible he is. He now has to borrow money from Shannon’s mother each month to pay the bills. Then he resents her for asking to be repaid. In every aspect of his life, he has one foot in and one foot out. He wants to own a business but doesn’t want to put in the work. He wants to be married but can’t live up to the responsibility.
Christian is the oldest of the Contreras’ six children. He’s 13, is quiet and spends most of his time playing video games. That’s because the games drown out the sound of his parents’ fighting. Day and night his parents yell at each other and Christian is terrified that one day they’re going to divorce. Although Christian is quiet, he’s hiding a deep well of pain and tears.
Savannah is the Contreras’ second child. She is 8 years old and extremely sensitive. Savannah admits to being deeply disturbed by her parents’ fighting and prays for it to stop. In reaction to this stress, Savannah has started eating emotionally. She’s gained 60 pounds over the last year. Although she’s very shy with strangers, once she trusts someone, she can be very friendly and playful.