Pay attention to the way people speak to you when they're upset. Pay attention to the words they say to you and their counter actions. It says a lot about them.
If you can't respond in an appropriate manner, then you should wait till you cool off completely, and re-organize your thoughts. Thrown insults and harsh words can't be taken back. You've set an image for yourself, and that can't be changed either.
It's not about biting your tongue, it's about being in control and being respectful.