Growing up, I’ve always been taught to be kind and patient in the face of insults. It’s best to just sit in the line of verbal fire, be as serene as possible and wait it out.
Being patient doesn’t mean that you’re a weak and timid person. Instead think of it as being wise. You’re not sitting in a slew of insults because you’re unable to defend yourself. You’re sitting in it because you’re trying to bring positive energy to a tense situation. That isn’t weakness. That’s acting on wisdom.
When a person feels a loss of control in a situation, he reacts with anger. You can counter his anger in many different ways, but none of which will solve the deeper problem. The Buddhist way is to listen and be tranquil about it. And no, I don’t mean to simply fake a smile and pretend to be listening. What I mean is to understand that the person is upset and react accordingly.
It’s like this: anger is similar to a fire. Talking back or arguing is the same as fuelling it. Fuel it and it’ll grow. Keep on fuelling it, and it’ll grow into one flaming situation, and eventually someone gets hurt.
I’m not quite sure how it happens, but in my experience, I just stay quiet and everything works out. Maybe the angry person starts to feel foolish, or maybe he gets bored. Either way, the anger dies, and to me that’s what’s important.