It always takes me by surprise when someone overreacts to something. You think you’re just giving someone a light verbal tap on the shoulder, and what you get is an explosion fit to level three city blocks. (Even though I’ve done it myself a time or two, it’s still disconcerting.) Whoa. Where did that come from?
That’s the perfect question to ask. Because being the recipient of an explosion does not necessarily mean that you were the initiator of the detonation. Often, as with explosions in general, you weren’t necessarily the target. You just happened to have the misfortune of being at ground zero at the time of the blast.
It’s quite possible to trigger someone without even intending to. There’s very little you can do to avoid that. You have no idea what went on in someone else’s past. You have no way of knowing if you just happen to come along at the end of a very bad day or a very bad decade.
If you are really evolved, you could try to suss out the reason for the hostility, and perhaps help the person work through it. But the older I get, the less energy I have for such efforts. Life gets shorter by the day.
When someone explodes, what I try to do, with varying levels of success, is imagine the ire blowing past me and dissipating out in the ether somewhere. It’s not aimed at me, and it shouldn’t knock me down. As a friend of mine likes to say, “Not my cow. Not my pasture. Not my bullshit.”