It wasn’t all bad memories. Camilla recalls a time when the family was happy. Her father worked hard to build a life for them. It wasn’t long however after her sister’s birth that her mother’s mental health rapidly deteriorated. The family split. Camilla’s father filed for custody of his girls but it would be some time before he would see them. Their Mom spiraled out of control and became dependent on a new boyfriend who quickly exercised his physical and financial power over the family.
The mother’s boyfriend began beating the children at night. Nighttime became a source of fear and anxiety for Camilla. She was confused at how a Mom who loved them could stand by and allow them to be hurt so badly. The feeling of confusion was quickly replaced by despair when her Mom joined in with emotional abuse.
Camilla found her only escape through reading and learning. Her mother soon took away the last thing she found joy in—her books. Camilla’s Mom began withholding other items too—homework, clothing and toys. Camilla quickly became Mom to Mariana doing her best to make sure her little sister was fed and clothed. Mariana was embarrassed to go to school and would often shake.