'Setting up my own business helped get me out of a cycle of victimhood'
- Janine Mitchell runs a mental health business in Manchester
- She is a published researcher and trained hypnotherapist with 18 years of experience in mental health
- Before becoming an entrepreneur she was a victim of a domestic abuse relationship
Deciding to leave her day job and set up her own business was a therapeutic move for 46-year-old Janine Mitchell in more ways than one.
Not only did she feel trapped in her job as a probation officer, she had suffered from being in an abusive domestic relationship.
In 2014, Janine set up her company, Change For Success, which delivers workshops and training for individuals and businesses.
With a master’s degree in psychology and two undergraduate degrees, she is a trained hypnotherapist in emotional freedom techniques (EFT) and a neurolinguistic programming (NLP) practitioner.
Prior to becoming a self-made entrepreneur, however, Janine was caught up in an abusive domestic relationship that lasted for several years.
Although the relationship ended in 2011, Janine found it difficult to not only escape the abusive relationship but to see herself as the victim.
She was working as a probation officer at the time, managing large caseloads of high-risk offenders with no wellbeing support, which further impacted her mental health.
Along with her hectic job and the death of her father, Janine felt trapped.
How difficult was it to leave that relationship?
“I attempted to leave several times. Time after time after time, when you’re getting swore at, when you’re being abused physically and emotionally, there’s only so much more you can take. One of the most high-risk times to be abused is when you leave the relationship because the domestic abuser is losing control, so they try all the tactics they can to make you stay.”
“This is the cycle of abuse where they try and woo you with all the grand gestures, gifts and promises that it won’t happen again. The amount of times I got in my car, drove off to stay at a friend’s house, but the feeling of shame and guilt made it difficult to leave.”
“The person is always around so it’s difficult to get out of their way. One day, where I literally could not face one minute more of this horrific life and I knew he wasn’t going to be there for an hour, I managed to pack stuff, leave a note and go as quickly as I could.”
“Overall, it’s very difficult to leave these relationships because of the cycle of abuse that happens.”
With domestic abuse cases increasing year on year before the pandemic, ONS statistics show that 2.4 million adults aged 16 to 74 experienced domestic abuse in the last year.
One in five crimes have been related to domestic abuse during the Covid lockdown and Janine has immense sympathy with victims that find it difficult to get out.
What advice would you give to victims who are scared to leave?
“It’s difficult because a victim is scared of being attacked or abused if they try to leave. They are not only scared for themselves but for their children. Not just that, it is very hard to confide in people as there’s so much shame and guilt around this because the abuser convinces you that it’s all your fault, even though it’s not.”
- Contact a domestic abuse charity and get as much advice and support as you can
- Secretly pack some stuff, at home or your car, so you’re ready to get away
- Have somewhere to go, to a friend or a family member
What was the transition like, from a probation officer to an entrepreneur?
“I was a probation officer for 13 years and it was one of the most difficult, demanding and stressful jobs ever. You’re dealing with the most damaged members of society. Working with people in prison is difficult but working with people on release from prison is even more demanding because you’ve got lots of challenges you have to overcome. Especially when you’re working in one of the busiest offices in the country.
“We had huge caseloads, so you can imagine juggling the two was really hard.
"Eventually, I decided to retrain as a mental health expert and began the process of setting up my business, which I was really excited about.
"But I knew that I couldn’t leave the probation job one day and start the business the day after.
“During that job I was guaranteed a monthly income, a pension, holiday pay, sick pay. So, to have that security, so to make the transition in one step is difficult.
"Therefore, the transition was a gradual one. Before I left the probation role, I was building up clients, attending lots of business networking events and giving talks to increase my visibility.
“I learnt life-changing techniques that transformed my thought process and mindset. My stress became a thing of the past, my relationships improved, as did my health and my confidence.
"This dramatically changed my life for good. It’s my mission to help you do the same.”
If you are suffering from domestic abuse, or know someone who is, here are some links to domestic abuse charities in Manchester:
Pankhurst Trust - https://www.pankhursttrust.org/manchester-womens-aid/get-help
End The Fear - http://www.endthefear.co.uk