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Someone Spat in my Face

Today an awful, awesome thing happened to me that got me thinking about forgiveness and understanding. Someone spat in my face.
I work with medically ill and troubled adults in an outpatient setting, and today I accompanied them to the park. A great time was had by all, or so I thought. But trouble brewed between two of the clients, and when I tried to intervene I was cursed at by one of them, and just when I thought things had quieted down and resolved, he approached me, cursed again at me, spat in my face and lunged at me. Of course further assistance was needed to bring things under control, and the others, while consoling me, voiced how they would have handled him (not pretty).

The thing is; I knew this client's anger was not directed at me, he just projected it toward me. I am not a psychologist nor a psychotherapist, but it seemed to me that he was unable to direct his anger at the subjects that he thought wronged him, and so he attacked me, the authority figure.
How then can I retaliate as was suggested?
I believe before we respond with our emotions, and maybe get hurt further, we need at quickly assess why. Don't be quick to judge. It may (and most often) is not about us.
So yes, I did not personalize it, and I have forgiven him.
I can only hope he receives the help he needs.

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