I know it sounds very self-consolatory to say, 'he/she must be in quite a lot of pain', or 'somehow more unbalanced inside than humans are normally unbalanced', or 'must have gone through some horrible experience that totally destroyed their fragile self-esteem'.
However, I really believe that someone who's at peace and has developed pretty good self-confidence, wouldn't have to resort to making stabs at others. Does the Dalai Lama shoot down other people to make himself feel better? Do well-balanced individuals feel the need to snarl, threaten or stab others in the back?
(I'm not sure how sarcastic I am writing this, although I sense I am a little. But the main point is still: mean people really deserve a little pity. And their words are like the wind in the air...rustle rustle.)
I'm not quite zen about the whole thing (or else I wouldn't be writing this), but I think I won't be affected for much longer. The next time I get poisonous words shot at me, I'm sure I'll still be taken aback, but at the same time... I mean, why would you waste your breath making your soul uglier? Also, if I don't accept a word of what you say, then, well, I don't. I somehow am starting to believe that if insults don't hit their mark, they're just puddles on the street, really, or water evaporating, or ants shitting...I don't know.
There's a lot of bliss in not caring a bit.