How to Be Free of Bullies
The difference between “hitting back” (which they don’t want and will stop them) and “reacting” (which is what they want and they will keep going) is thus:
In nice corporate terms: hitting back is making a complaint to someone who can do something about a product or service. Reacting is having a moan to someone who cannot do anything to rectify the problem. In a way, reactions are a continuation of the bullying cycle, which is why it makes bullies carry on when get a reaction.