The catch-22 situation is resolvable. Personally I use detachment (no surprise there ). The theory is that bullies thrive off reactions. I give them no such pleasure. Sure there are a few who require no response from the victim but these are most often unskilled bullies who baulk should you confront them.
Where I work at the moment they are constantly pecking at one another with "jokes" and such trying to establish themselves in a pecking order. Myself, they tend to leave alone. My tongue is faster than most and I rarely look bothered. This seems to work most days.