I don’t think being bullied toughens anyone up, I’ve not seen such a phenomenon. I think people say that in order to wash their hands of any responsibility so they can go back to having fun. If parents of bully children would simply spank their boy/girl, this would diminish bullying. I’ve know people who were disciplined early in life like that and yes, they cut the shit.
You can’t stop boys from bullying other boys. Especially the nearly universal bullying of the serious outliers. Nearly everyone is going to get in on that. The very serious bullying by the psycho, evil “professional bullies” or superbullies who bully many other boys does not seem to be helpful or at least it didn’t help me anyway. I could never figure out what I could change about my behavior to get them to stop. Actually I think there was nothing I could have changed about my behavior to satisfy the psychobullies.
It toughened me up. Not the bullying. I didn’t get bullied that much anyway. That’s because I acted normal enough so as not to become a universal target of bullying.
But I got toughened up by the whole vicious culture of boyhood. I think it is good that boyhood is vicious. It has to be.
I got toughened up by the threat of bullying. There were certain behaviors that were so extreme and disliked that if you acted that way, you might just get hit. And by bullying the outliers who were acting in seriously inappropriate ways, I learned the lesson of, “You act like that, you get hit!” So I tried very hard not to act like that, and it was good for me to learn that.