When I am verbally attacked, I feel a helpless rage. How can I defend myself without getting angry?

Lama Ole’s answer:

I would quickly lead people onto thin ice. Like in Aikido: turn the momentum of the opponent around and knock him over with it. You say, “What was that? I didn’t understand you. Say it again.” And then they have to repeat it, and you say, “But you can’t mean it like that, now…how did you mean it?” And say, “Why don’t we ask so and so about it.” Then you tell the third person, “Listen, she said such and such; what do you think about that? Ah, here comes the boss—he should really know about this too. Listen, she said this and I think such and such. Who do you think is right?”

You inflate the whole thing out of proportion and then go off to the toilet and smoke a cigarette while all the people are discussing what she said and why. Then you come back in and say, “Thank you very much; that’s what I think too.” And you go on doing what you want. If people are unpleasant, lead them onto thin ice and make it big and embarrassing until they say either only nice things to you or nothing at all.

Of course there are also cases where one knows that one acted stupidly oneself. If someone complains about that, you can simply say, “I’m sorry.” That is something else. The point is not to be slippery like an eel and avoid all criticism, because then you don’t learn anything. You should apologize immediately if you have made a mistake. But if somebody tries to make trouble only out of spite, then simply make him look so ridiculous that he doesn’t do it again. That is my advice. Life is short and we don’t have time for kindergarten games. We simply don’t have time for that.