When attacked by the ill feelings of another, be it anger, grumpiness, resentment, or whatever, we often attack back, which is certainly justified, but a silly war to wage.
If it helps, think of the battle as having 3 participants, not just 2. There is you, there is the person who just attacked you, and then there is the awful thing that is happening inside that person that orchestrated their attack.
It’s like when someone has a cold, you don’t fight the person, you fight the cold.
People who attack are sick with something, something wildly contagious that spreads like a germ through the molecules in the air. Don’t be fooled. That thing wins out most of the time, spreading and infecting the room, the house, the neighborhood…
But it’s weak. It hates its name and fears a fair fight. It can be taken down quick once recognized. And you already know how to take it down, because you’ve taken it down when it went into you. A small, soft gesture can break its neck, a generous word can dismantle its DNA. No matter how long the path of destruction, its reign can end in a moment.
And as the real foe falls, an unexpected ally may emerge.