Tamas cannot be counteracted by tamas. It might be easier to counteract it by means of rajas (action), and it might be more difficult to jump directly from tamas to sattva. The result of a life led by tamas is demerit by karma: demotion to a lower life-form.
Tamas, or tamo-guna, is the lowest of the three gunas. It is a force which promotes one or more of the following: (1) darkness, (2) death, (3) destruction, (4) ignorance, (5) Sloth, (6) resistance. Tamas is viewed as being more negative than either rajas or sattva. Tamas has also been translated as "indifference". This is the most negative guna because of its rejection of Karmaic Law and the central principle of dharmaic religions; that one's Karma must be worked out and not ignored
Each of the three gunas has its own distinctive characteristics and it is believed that everything is made up of these three. Tamas is lowest, heaviest, slowest, and most dull (for example, a stone or a lump of earth). It is devoid of the energy of the Rajas and the brightness of Sattva.
"Those who embody the energies of sattva-white light, raajas-red passion, and taamas-black darkness, abide in the Fear of God, along with the many created forms."
"Raajas, the quality of energy and activity; Taamas, the quality of darkness and inertia; and Satvas, the quality of purity and light, are all called the creations of Maya, Your illusion. That man who realizes the fourth state - he alone obtains the supreme state"
"Your Power is diffused through the three gunas: raajas, taamas and satva"
"Raajas, the quality of energetic activity shall pass away. Taamas, the quality of lethargic darkness shall pass away. Saatvas, the quality of peaceful light shall pass away as well. All that is seen shall pass away. Only the Word of the Holy Saint is beyond destruction"
"You should know, O Arjuna, tamas as the cause of delusion enslaving all embodied beings born of nescience; by negligence, listlessness and somnolescence."
"O Arjuna, nescience, inertness, neglectfulness and also illusion; when these arise tamas predominates."