When someone acts badly toward you or speaks badly of you, remember that he does or says it in the belief that it is appropriate for him to do so.
– Encheiridion 42
This is most clearly seen with those who genuinely believe their criticisms. It is useless to blame them for the wrong when they do not see it as wrong. It is instead a matter of knowledge and education.
But even if the person does not believe their criticisms, they still act on the basis of what they believe to be good. Whether it is good for themselves or good for others, everyone believes their actions to be justified on some level or else they would not do them, whether it is some confused notion of gain for them or punishment for you. This too is founded on ignorance and false beliefs. It is the stoics imperative to understand the nature of the action if they are to live in accordance with nature and not be misled by appearances. Though they may speak badly to us, no harm but that which we admit can come of it. Rather, it is the speaker who is harmed by their misinformed beliefs. Such as these should evoke our sympathy, not anger, for sympathy is the appropriate response when we see someone injure themselves due to misfortune of their ignorance.
Starting from these considerations you will be gentle with the person who abuses you. For you must say on each occasion, “That’s how it seemed to him.”