I have never known how to react when a personal attack occurs. When a comment is made about your being. My natural instinct has been to keep quiet, take it in, mull it for while, and leave it for later.
The word attack is perhaps a strong one. What I talk of is, however, close. Very close.
There are people in the world who cannot comprehend the expanse, content, or the essence of a life. They see the obvious bits and pieces and pass terminal statements. Reverse binocular perception, I like to call that. They see the bits and believe that to be the world; their limited vision is all that they can fathom.
On this basis, they become the guardians of the truth; an incomplete truth — one devoid of context. And they cherish this non-contextual truth. Only because it offers them the liberty to pass an easy statement; not a judgement; just a statement, bereft of analysis.
I would, perhaps, pay attention to these comments if they carried with them, even the least semblance of authority. But a statement, bankrupt of any position, loaded with a conspicuous malice and intent to hurt, is just a set of words, lost in purpose.
We are all vulnerable at certain times. Irrespective of that, everybody has a right to attack. The character of the attacker is defined in the nature, content and the time of the attack. That will tell you a lot about the character of the person who has attacked.
In that moment, however, how you react, will tell volumes of who you are.