‘I was terrified something happened to the baby. He pulled me into my closet so neighbors couldn’t hear me screaming. My mom drove 3 hours in a snow storm to rescue me from him.’

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“In March of 2018, I thought I met the love of my life. From the moment I saw him I knew it was love at first sight, I was so incredibly smitten with him and for the first time in my life, someone else felt the same way towards me. He thought I was the most beautiful girl in the world and he made me fee like that too. Especially after a string of some not so great boyfriends, I felt like I was finally getting the love I deserved. We spent every moment together since the minute we met. We listened to music, we laughed, we loved, and everything progressed extremely fast.

Mattea Bishop

I found it scary how fast things were going, but I just knew I loved him so much and I would do anything and everything for him, because I didn’t want to lose him. I became pregnant shortly after meeting him. I was in a massive state of shock, but he made me feel extremely comforted. He vowed to protect us, love us, and always keep us safe. It made me incredibly happy. I felt at the time there was no doubt in my mind he was the one for me, we were going to have a family together and be a great team. Little did I know me becoming pregnant would awaken the monster within him, and I would soon be fighting for my life, and my baby’s life.

Courtesy of Mattea Bishop

It started with him yelling at me for hours and hours until I was so mentally exhausted. I would agree with anything he said, just so he would love me again, and things would be back to normal. He took control of my finances, and mentally and verbally abused me until I felt I had no value or sense of identity, and he began to sexually abuse me. I felt like I no longer meant anything to him, I yearned for the type of love we had at the beginning, I had to get it back and I had to feel it again or else I was nothing, because I didn’t know who I was anymore. On the outside, we looked like we had it all together. I was pregnant, we were engaged, and he showed me off to all his friends and family and proclaimed his love for me any chance he could, to anyone who would listen. On the inside, I was suffering every type of abuse imaginable, and not long after he had convinced me to move away from my friends and family, he would begin to viciously physically abuse me. For months he beat me, almost everyday. He would tell me he would rather beat me to death than to see me leave him. There was not a single night I didn’t go to bed without tears in my eyes wondering how I got myself into this situation. He had made me block my mom, and my best friends, so I had no support or anyone to turn to when his manipulation and verbal abuse was at it’s strongest. He had complete control over me, and I let it happen, in hopes that if I did what he wanted, we would be a happy family and he would stop hitting me.

Courtesy of Mattea Bishop

I remember the first time he laid his hands on me; I was in complete shock. He hit me so hard I fell to the ground, and throughout the evening he would continue to hit me around 30 more times. I found myself apologizing, begging him to stop, and I felt like I deserved it. Things only got worse; I was now alone, with no one to help me, almost 6 months pregnant, and fearing for my life. I wasn’t allowed to wear make up, I couldn’t wear certain types of clothes or shoes, I had to watch everything I said, and I had to stand by watching him pursue other women and go out with his friends leaving me at home by myself. The verbal, mental, emotional, and physical abuse I suffered at the hands of someone I love, brought me an indescribable amount of pain, but my unborn baby boy helped me find the courage to live and fight for my life.

Courtesy of Mattea Bishop

I ignored the constant red flags at the beginning because I wanted to be with him so badly. Now I was just trying to figure out how to survive and protect my baby. One day he had pulled me down the stairs and dragged me to the bedroom, I was terrified something had happened to the baby, but he didn’t care. He pulled me into my walk-in closet so the neighbors couldn’t hear me screaming, and he threatened to kill me, he kept hitting me so hard that I lost hearing in one ear, and then he knocked me unconscious. It’s moments like these that constantly play in my head at night, that give me nightmares, that make me afraid he’ll show up outside my house one day, that make me so protective of my child in hopes he will never have to experience that type of violence in his life.

Courtesy of Mattea Bishop

The last week I was with him it kept escalating so fast that I was scared he was going to kill me. He had threatened to punch me in the stomach, screaming he wished I had an abortion, and then he hit me in the face so hard I was gushing blood. I pushed him aside and ran to the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror, and at that moment I knew I had had enough. Seeing blood all over the bathroom, all over my face and my clothes, hearing him laughing at me and telling me to clean it up had snapped me back into reality. It made me realize that if I did not leave, he would kill us. He then took my engagement ring away saying that I did not deserve it. At that point it didn’t really matter anymore, it was just one more thing he took. He had already stripped away my confidence, my support from family and friends, everything unique about me, and my ability to be a good mother. That’s what pushed me to leave; my son deserved a great mother. And if I stayed, my son wouldn’t get to see the best parts of life, or the best parts of me.

Courtesy of Mattea Bishop

The next day my mom and step-dad drove three hours in a snow storm and rescued me from him. It took every ounce of me emotionally to actually leave him, but I am so glad I did. I only went through this intense abuse for 7 months, but it felt like a lifetime. Since I’ve left I’ve had really good days, and of course really bad days, but I’m still healing from what happened. I’m still mourning the love I lost, or the love I thought I had. As of today I have completely blocked him out of our lives. I’ve got a restraining order against him, I gave my statement to the police, and they were so disgusted by the things he had done, they laid 11 charges against him,  he is facing jail time. At first the idea of him going to jail was scary, and I felt incredible guilt even though these were all his choices to hurt me but as I continue to watch my son grow I wouldn’t want things to be any other way. I am proud of what I did for my son and for myself, I am proud of the life I am able to provide him and I am rewarded by his laughs and smiles everyday for it. It’s a miracle I came out alive with only a concussion and some bruises. My Doctor told me if I would have gotten one more major hit to the head, it would have resulted in a brain bleed and I wouldn’t be here today. After all of the physical and emotional trauma, I am blessed that my baby came into this world healthy and happy, surrounded by unconditional love from our family and friends. Some people are unfortunately not as lucky, that’s why I wanted to share this story in hopes it will give other women and men the courage to leave. To let them know it is never worth it, you cannot fix them, and they do not deserve you.

Courtesy of Mattea Bishop

If you would have told me two years ago this would be my story, I would have said you were crazy. I was too strong, too independent, and too stubborn to have it happen to me, but I am who I am because of what I went through. I am a strong, 21 year old, single mother. I now have full custody of my son, and we have a lifetime of new memories to make without fear, anxiety, or violence. I cannot stress enough how glad I am that I left. I have never gone through such emotional turmoil in my life, but I would go through it all over again if it meant I would have my son. He is everything to me, and now I have the chance to be the mom he deserves. I’ve thought about posting my story before, but I never went through with it for fear he would see it. I am no longer going to live my life in fear.

Courtesy of Mattea Bishop

It’s only been 5 months since I left him, but it is so fresh in my mind and the memories still play in my head a million times a day. Healing takes a lot of work, and not many people understand the attachment a victim has to their abuser, especially after they have left. Thankfully I had the help of my amazing counselor, social worker, and the support from my friends and family, to help me overcome the hardships and struggles that come along with recovering from abuse. I am also so grateful for the two amazing female police officers from the domestic violence unit, that made it easier to tell my story, who worked hard to protect me and help me find my voice when I was too scared to use it, and who continue to check up on me today. I now appreciate time with my family and friends even more, and most importantly I am learning to love myself and appreciate what makes me unique. So thank you to those who stood beside me when I was broken down, because now I am strong enough to help someone else who is in that position, because I understand how hard it is. This experience has inspired me to go back to school, to become a social worker, to help other families affected by domestic abuse. If my story can help even one family it’s worth it. Nobody deserves to be abused, no matter what type of abuse it is.

If you are in an abusive relationship right now, I promise you that the feeling of strength and relief after leaving is so much better than the constant failed attempts at fighting for a love that was never there. I still have a long road ahead of me, but I am proud to say I am no longer a domestic abuse victim; I am a domestic abuse survivor.”

Courtesy of Mattea Bishop

[If you need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit thehotline.org to live chat with someone 24/7. Help is out there and you are not alone.]

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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mattea Bishop. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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