Sometimes assholes are easy to recognize. Sometimes they're speeding past you in a lane that's going to close soon and they'll try to get to the front of the pack instead of waiting. Other times they take four slices of an eight slice pizza you're sharing with friends and tell you they'll chip in later. Other times they're wearing a uniform and people call them "officer".
Sometimes they are harder to recognize, like when they inhabit your skin.
You can't recognize when you're being the asshole in a lot of cases. When you do recognize it, it's because you're purposefully doing it, it's out of spite and you wanna be the asshole. But there are a million other times that you, yes you, are an asshole of major proportions.
I know a woman that loves me. She's smart, she's beautiful, she's fun to be around, everything I ever wanted. But it's not enough. I can't let myself be happy. So I take it out on her.
My inability to be "OK" is making her miserable. My inability to accept love is causing her pain. And my only response is "Well, try harder. I'll know 'good enough' when I see it."
If I had a female friend that had a dude treating her like this, I'd tell her she should be moving on. But here I am, doing the same shit.
I'm making a promise to her and to myself that I will not be that dude. I refuse to not recognize assholish behavior. I will be better or leave her alone.