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To a certain extent I can see how being meaner could work on the other hand some people just do not have it in them to be mean. In any case the bullies have to know their behavior is unacceptable and won't be tolerated.
Strength of character can often result in the bully leaving you alone. Stand with your head up and continue doing the best you can to overcome....focusing on the things that are important to you. Not letting them know they hurt goes a long way.
The adult bullies in the workplace are perhaps the worse kind because they act as if their behavior is all in a day's work and the bullied don't recognize that they are being bullied.