I would like to turn this on its head and say some people only respect you if you are an asshole to them. As you will see, you really shouldn’t be an asshole to them, but if you are firm with them, they will respect you.
My dog loved one of my mother’s shoes. He was spending the night at the vet and my mother wanted him to have the shoe. My mother didn’t like the receptionist there. She could be nasty at times. So my mother ask me if I would drop the shoe off.
When I asked the receptionist to put the shoe in the dog’s cage, she said acidly,”We cannot be held responsible if it gets lost!” To which I said in a firm tone of voice, “I don’t care. Just put it in the cage.” My mother said that from that point on, the receptionist was nice to her.
I think many assholes are testing you to see if you will stand up to them. Don’t bully them. You won’t win. They have more practice at being a bully. You want to be firm with them; stand your ground and set appropriate limits.
For another example of dealing with a bully, see: Is it wrong for me to look down and laugh at people who try to bully me?
©2016 Stephen L. Martin
Painting: (title unknown) by Willem de Kooning