reality tv

While Australia watched Abbie be dumped on TV last night, she was 'screaming into a pillow'.

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While stuck inside The Bachelor mansion with dozens of other women, Abbie Chatfield used to joke about being in the final two.

She and the other women competing for bachelor Matt Agnew’s heart used to act out the final rose ceremony, where Matt would pick one woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

Abbie was familiar with the show – and its American version – where bachelors always use a specific line to breakup with their runner-up.

Bachelor contestants: Translated. Post continues below video.

Video by Mamamia

Then, standing in front of Matt in South Africa, he used that line on her.

“The fact that he said ‘My heart is with someone else’, it’s the ultimate Bachelor line,” she told Mamamia the morning after we watched her heartbroken on our TV screens.

“I used to make the girls do pretend final rose ceremonies in the house and I would always use that joke line. It sucks to have my own line that I thought was a joke from the American series used on me.”

To her, it wasn’t an explanation and months on, she still doesn’t know why Matt’s heart wasn’t with her. She hasn’t spoken to him since kissing him on the cheek goodbye and getting in the car to drive away.

On screen, we watched as she insisted she was “fine”. Maybe she wasn’t in love with him after all, she said. Then the cameras switched off.

“The amount of times that I said ‘It’s fine’ was not normal: ‘It’s fine, it’s fine’, It’s not fine,” Abbie explained. “It was crazy because my producer was crying and I wasn’t crying. I just couldn’t feel anything.

“I looked at the camera guy who was in the front seat, and we’d obviously been with the camera guys for three months as well, and I was like ‘I don’t feel anything’ and he was like ‘It’ll come, darl’. Then we turned the cameras off because he couldn’t get anything from me except ‘I’m fine’. So it was a two hour car ride home and then I completely lost it, because I was like ‘Oh my god, it’s done’. It was a really weird range of emotions.

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“Then I got back to the hotel and I was a mess.”

 

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The only way I can describe this moment is complete and utter shock. I was numb. I couldn’t and didn’t want to feel anything. I had felt for weeks that what Matt and I had was real and I trusted him wholeheartedly when he told me how he felt about me. From Hometowns, I forgot the cameras were there. It didn’t feel like we were filming a show at all, it felt like we had this real relationship built in a little bubble of “The Bachelor” and we would be out soon and able to live a normal life. Hearing Matt say “my heart is with someone else” reminded me that we were filming and that Matt had to make a difficult decision, and he did not see in me what I saw in him. I felt silly for ever imagining Matt would love me. It was like emotional whiplash. I was so confused and it felt like I was in a dystopian reality. The second the cameras turned off, I sobbed. I screamed. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t think think this would be how we would end. I spent weeks crying about this relationship that had almost no closure. I still haven’t fully healed from my relationship with Matt, but I know he and the gorgeous woman he is with are happy, and that’s all that matters. #thebachelorau

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Abbie was holed up in a hotel room overnight, with an order of three chocolate puddings and a bottle of prosecco that she shared with a minder and members of the crew who were so worried about her well being that they didn’t want to leave her alone.

She was laughing one minute, then sobbing. She was angry, then almost instantly it would turn to sadness. She was, she said, “all over the place”, including during the agonising 37 hour trip back home to Brisbane.

When home, Abbie said it was hard to adjust back to reality after three months away and a break up that cannot compare to anything in the ‘real world’.

“You know how you have a normal breakup and you can text the person if you have a question? Once you’ve processed that moment you can be like ‘Okay, I have one more thing to say’ or ‘I wish you well’ and I couldn’t do any of that.

“Honestly, for maybe three days I wasn’t in touch with reality. I truly was not mentally well after that experience.”

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Even now she's still dealing with what happened, with the added struggle of having her Instagram flooded with horrible misogynistic comments, abuse and sl*t shaming.

"I've been going through heartbreak plus being abused and bullied online, and also I was completely isolated in the house. For six months, I've been going through absolute hell, basically," Abbie told Mamamia.

Throughout her Bachelor experience she was accused of not being genuine in her feelings for Matt and her intentions for being on the show. This accusation, which Abbie said was totally baseless, snowballed into horrific social media bullying.

"If I smiled I was fake, if I cried I was fake, if I laughed I was fake," she said.

"I'm still crying about this man once a week. I'm still upset about this. My friends, Helena gets calls from me, my publicist gets calls from me sobbing. The therapist gets calls from me. It's like, people don't understand that I'm going through this plus getting told that my mother should've aborted me."

That is just one disgusting example of the comments people feel compelled to share on her Instagram account. She's been screenshotting the worst of them and might collate them into a post or video, to show the full extent of what she's dealt with.

Sure, Abbie was on reality TV. We watched her on our screens for eight weeks and with that comes a public profile. But she is a real person, and reading the messages she received is enough to make you lose faith in humanity.

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Earlier this month, Mamamia published an article about how the response to Abbie on The Bachelor is proof Australia is still uncomfortable watching a confident woman on TV. She agreed with this assessment.

"Absolutely, I think Australia is [uncomfortable with a confident woman expressing her sexuality].

"I saw people saying 'I'm not sl*t shaming her, I just think she's manipulative'. But why do you think I'm manipulative? You think I'm manipulative because you think I'm using my sexuality, so it does come back to you sl*t shaming me.

"It's quite upsetting, especially because on the American [Bachelorette] season with Hannah Brown she slept with two contestants and America's a pretty conservative country and they praised her... in Australia no one can handle me kissing a man I've been dating for two months."

This response also shows a blatant double standard. While Abbie is 'manipulative' or a 'sl*t', Matt has been described as 'thirsty'. A far lighter, less loaded term.

"No one thinks he's a bad person, it's just me who's this siren who's out to get him. I just wanted to kiss my boyfriend - that's all it was!

"Matt's gotten some lighthearted commentary, even when Matty J and Sam spoke to him like 'How many girls have you pashed mate?' in a blokey chat, meanwhile I'm kissing the same man for two and a half months and I've expressed my emotions to him and we're getting to know each other, and I'm a sl*t and manipulative."

Watching the finale back brought back a lot of emotion for Abbie, who was "screaming into a pillow" at one point on Thursday night.

We can't help her heartache, but we can create an environment where commenting horrendous things and trolling others - yes, even reality TV stars - on social media is not okay. We can call it out, we can report abuse. To not is to implicitly condone it.

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