Since her daughter died in her arms, Chen Xiaoqian developed a terrible case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and felt a very strong urge to wash her hands.
OCD is a form of anxiety disorder. No matter how hard one tried to consciously resist that behavior, one would still do things that they do not want to do.
No matter how many times she washed her hands, she still felt that her hands were stained with her daughter's blood. Her OCD would be triggered whenever she felt disgusted or when someone abused children in front of her. She would then wash her hands again and again.
She would feel powerless and empty if she did not wash her hands.
Many psychologists were patients themselves, because the multitude of patients that they treated made it easy for them to become mentally ill themselves. As they say, 'doctors make the worst patients'.
About five meters from Chen Xiaoqian, there was a man hitting a 10-year-old girl with a broom.
"That's for stealing things!"
This scene triggered something in Chen Xiaoqian. Every fiber of her being wanted her to wash her hands.
The face of the little girl also triggered the fact that her daughter, Xiaowei, was about the same age when she died.
At that moment, Jia Xiufang caught up to Chen Xiaoqian and pulled her arm.
"Don't you dare run away from me!"
"Let go of me!" Chen Xiaoqian pushed her away and walked up to the man who was hitting the child.
Jia Xiufang was stunned by the daughter's roar. She sensed her daughter became an entirely different person and she was shocked by the look in her eyes!
"I've warned you many times not to steal and yet you still do it, I'll hit..."
"Stop!" Chen Xiaoqian grabbed the man's broomstick. The urge of washing her hands emerged when she saw the girl covered with cuts and bruises.
She clenched her teeth and distracted herself with pain.
Many people believed that mental illness could be conquered with willpower. However, until they walked a mile in the shoes of someone who suffered from mental illness, they would not understand the despair of not being able to control one's own behavior.
"This girl had stolen something! I'm teaching her a lesson!" The man was stunned by Chen Xiaoqian's good look before he returned to his senses.
Chen Xiaoqian never meddled in other's business. She was a highly sought-after psychologist and her patients were all dignitaries. They were charged handsomely with five figures RMB per hour for consultation fees. Plus, there was a long waiting list.
She admitted to being a cold-hearted person. She would not even bat an eyelid if someone with no money came to her and died right in front of her—she was the epitome of heartlessness.
However, Xiaoqian had changed ever since the passing of her daughter. Whenever she saw someone abusing children, she pinched herself uncontrollably and that too was a manifestation of OCD.
She looked at the girl who was hiding behind her. She was shaking and was bruised everywhere. There was fear in her eyes and that triggered the memory of her daughter, Xiaowei. The urge to wash her hands grew stronger.
"Are you the father?" Chen Xiaoqian asked.
"That's right! This girl steals from people three times a week. This time she stole some beer from a supermarket. I'll break her arm so she remembers not to steal!"
The man was the manager of the supermarket and he was famous for being righteous. It was very shameful that his daughter did what she did.
Chen Xiaoqian looked at the girl. Then, she looked at the man and said in a cold manner, "She won't change even if you keep beating her. What she needs is proper treatment."
If she was not mistaken, the girl was suffering from Kleptomania.
She stole things she did not need. It was not for her own use but just to satisfy a mental itch. It was a common mental illness.
However, the father did not listen. He was enraged by the humiliation and pointed the handle of the broom at Chen Xiaoqian.
Jia Xiufang quickly came over, pulled Chen Xiaoqian behind her, and yelled at the man.
"Don't you dare touch my daughter!"
This was a self-proclaimed entitlement of many parents. Others were not allowed to hit their children but they could hit them as much as they wanted to. They claimed it as parental love.
Jia Xiufang held a basin while the man held a broom handle. It was like a battleground and they were about to start a fight. The animosity was strong, yet it looked amusing at the same time too.
Chen Xiaoqian pulled the girl's hand and said, "I don't know what inner demon you're fighting against, but you have no control over the urge to steal anymore, am I right?"
The girl was frightened and she shook her head continuously. She was only eleven or twelve years old and she looked so helpless.
Chen Xiaoqian saw the shadow of her daughter in this girl. She ran a successful business and her ex-husband kidnapped her daughter to threaten her. By the time she got to the destination, her daughter already jumped from the building.
Xiaowei loved and missed her mother. Chen Xiaoqian missed Xiaowei too. Although Chen Xiaoqian had avenged her daughter, she still felt empty inside.
"If you want to conquer this urge to steal, come to the laundry shop in Bai Taling Village and look for me." Chen Xiaoqian felt it was ironic.
She was a cold-hearted monster, but she could not resist helping children. Even if her logic told her not to meddle, her body did not listen. That was the power of OCD.
The urge she had to help this little girl did not stem from a doctor's compassion to help others but from the urge of OCD.
She lost the ability to care for the world when she lost her daughter.
"Stop it, the two of you." Chen Xiaoqian pulled her mother.
Jia Xiufang was uneducated and had no qualms about yelling in the middle of the street. Being protective of one's children needed no explanation. The man's face was covered with her saliva as she yelled at him and he wiped his face with a grudge.
"I dare you to say that again!"
"Mom, stop talking, let me say something. You play a part in the way your daughter behaves. She must have experienced something tragic to manifest such behavior. The more you hit her the worse it will get. Bring her to see a psychologist when you can."
"How dare you say that my daughter is mentally ill?!" The man went into a total rage.
In that era, psychologists were for the mentally ill. It was an insult!
Chen Xiaoqian's mother showed no signs of weakness when he went into a total rage.
Chen Xiaoqian's mother used her brave fighting spirit of a near-menopause aunty and hit the man with the basin repeatedly. With her tall, strong, fat physique and enormous arms, she wielded her wheel of basin vigorously. The man did not have anywhere to run.
Chen Xiaoqian stood by the side and watched the girl run away. She returned to being cold and detached.
When the child left, there was nothing there to trigger her OCD. Being cold and detached was her normal state.
In her previous life, she used to be kind to the world and she used to have a kind heart that tolerated the cruel things the world threw at her. However, was the world ever kind to her?
She was tricked into marrying a homosexual and the bastard abused her after their marriage. She was able to start a successful business all by herself after divorcing him but her daughter's life was lost amid all that.
Her mother was fighting with the man and Chen Xiaoqian did not have the intention of helping. Instead, she watched them expressionlessly like a spectator.
She was a cold and detached 38-year-old soul living in a 19-year-old body. Nothing could move her other than her daughter...
However, the man who was repeatedly being beaten by her mother fought back with the handle and accidentally hit her mother on the head. It triggered something in Chen Xiaoqian, causing her to lose all logic and respond to it.