The problem with "Bullies" is as old as the ages. As long as the conventional bully can "push" somebody else around, they will. But, there are a couple or so points that can be made, just from observations.
Individuals who bully or harass others, can actually be cowards in their own right. They can have a very low feeling of self-esteem, so they turn to this activity to cause themselves to "appear" in control. This controlling of others, makes them feel better about themselves "temporarily". The bullies though, when it comes right down to it, will not have any confrontational contact with anyone who shows a reverse threat back to them. In other words, if they feel that someone might "punch them back", they will leave them alone. They are also unconsciously aware that the "make up" of most individuals is the non-desire to fight or argue with others. Most people would just rather "get along". This gives the bully an initial advantage over most people they come in contact with.
The "cowardly bully" will generally require an audience of "friends", to either always be present or do the harassing for them. These "helpers" in turn, believe that the "cowardly bully" will back them up if things go wrong. Generally not! Unless they perform as a group, these helpers are generally more cowardly than the so-called "leader".
These "leaders" will generally test their victims with just a minor verbal or physical action first. If the victim shows fear or very little defensive action, they have an object to prove their "courage" on. If on the other hand, the victim turns back on them with an aggressive and threatening appearance, they will just joke of the action, and in the future treat that individual with a little more respect.
The physical make-up of most bullies is that they are generally always larger than their victims, either in weight, height or both. This is another example of their cowardice. If you see this "character" in someone and do not want to become one of their "having fun times", then do not allow yourself to appear meek and/or shallow in their direct presence. If you do, you have "made their day", and this harassing can go on for years. The more you allow yourself to be harassed, the more vulnerable you become as time goes along. It's like a cancer. It just gets worse, in most cases, and once it starts, it can take a very long time to turn it around, unless some drastic change takes place in your "makeup" or mental state of mind. A victims feeling of self-worth, self-confidence and well-being drops to the bottom of the scale and the bully loves it.
I will give you an example of a turn-around in one individual that I have known personally. The bully was a large boy for his age and his victim was, of course, small. This "victim" joined a self-defense class, which he thought would help him with his problem. The classes naturally made him a little stronger, but the main thing that occurred was an increase in his feeling of self-worth and self-confidence. It was just a short time thereafter, that the bully bent him over a table backwards in a class room. Only this time, the victim immediately punched him in the face. Skipping the rest of the details, the bully ended up being expelled for several days and the harassing stopped. This is a prime example of how cowardice a bully can be. This bully did not want anything to do with someone who was going to fight back. You do not have to join self-defense classes to cause yourself not to be on a bullies list. Just "exhibit" a forward and positive attitude, no matter how scared you are on the inside at the time, and you will probably be passed up for an apparent "easier target". With each successive time of "proving" yourself, your inside feeling of self-confidence will increase to the point , that it will become a subconscious action. The day of the average bully being a part of your life will cease to exist.
Some bullies after being belittled in front of their "friends", will threaten retribution at some "future" time. This is normal, as they have to try and save face. Do not allow yourself to be placed in situations, after this for a while, that make you easy "pickings". It will only be a short while, that the episode will seem to become less important and you will be able to go on with your life.
A final point that I think I will make here, is about "fear of the unknown". When someone is unsure about your capabilities, they might try a mild test, but in general would just rather leave well enough alone. Most individuals in my life and times, unsure of my capabilities, will either just ignore me altogether or present me with sickening niceness. Now of course, to my true friends and acquaintances, I am just another guy (thank goodness).
This is another exerpt from my book: "Reflections of a Master Instructor"
Dennis L. Wissler