How To Deal With An Enemy or Toxic Person

How To Deal With An Enemy: See Them As A Tennis Player

Do you have someone who is permanently in your life for good – who is behaving badly?

This person might be a family member – or co-worker – or neighbor- or an ex who remains the mother or father of your kids.

Maybe you consider them an “enemy” or truly toxic.

Maybe they’re a little cray-cray – and making up lies about you.

Maybe they’re missing the “kindness gene” and just being a total jerk.

Well, if so – no worries! I have a metaphor to help you to deal with their cruel behavior.

I want you to start to think of this person as a “Metaphorical Tennis Player” who’s helping you to improve at the game of life.


As you might already know, one of the best ways to get better at tennis is to play with a worthy opponent – someone who challenges you – and forces you to step up your tennis game. In fact, if you want to become a better tennis player, it actually helps a lot to have a tough tennis opponent who is hitting that ball all over the court.

With the help of a tough opponent, you’re forced to bring in your A-game.

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Well, the same thing applies to becoming better at the game of life.

Often we don’t want to put in the effort to work on important life skills.

….But we will work on these life skills if we’re forced to!

And we’re finally forced to work on our “A Game” when we’re face-to-face with a “tough opponent” – “an enemy” – or what I like to euphemistically call “a Metaphorical Tennis Player.”

Think about it…

When you’re face-to-face with a “tough opponent” -a “Metaphorical Tennis Player” – you’re forced to reach deep inside yourself – and tap into places of strength, insight, wisdom and growth which were simply laying there dormant – and might have continued to lay there dormant – had it not been for your “tough opponent” – “Metaphorical Tennis Player”

Thanks to your “tough opponent” – your “Metaphorical Tennis Player” – you can work on skills like developing your mental focus and getting better at setting boundaries.


  • Re-name this enemy /toxic person as your “Metaphorical Tennis Player.”
  • Start to think of them as someone who is here to actually HELP you to become stronger, better, wiser – to become a better player at the game of life.
  • Ask yourself what positive qualities your “Metaphorical Tennis Player”is here to help you to develop – thanks to their chaos and resistance.

For example….

  • “Metaphorical Tennis Players” can teach you how to remain calm in the midst of chaos – so you really get to work on developing your “I-will-tap-into-inner-peace-no-matter-what-is-going-on-around-me” muscles. (You thereby have reason to thank your “Metaphorical Tennis Player” – because this is an awesome ability to get good at – and will come in handy throughout the game of life.)
  • “Metaphorical Tennis Players” can teach you the importance of not being anything like them – even a modicum!  They’re offering you a powerfully convincing reminder to always behave as your highest self.  (You thereby have reason to thank your “Metaphorical Tennis Player” – because this is a super game-changer – to help ensure you’re always playing life at your best.)
  • “Metaphorical Tennis Players” can teach you to honor your intuition more – because chances are you saw some “red flags” (or “red hankees or “red banners”) when you first encountered them – but you pushed down your intuition and allowed this person into your life.  (You thereby have reason to thank your “Metaphorical Tennis Player” – because fromhereonin you will now amp up your “I-will-always-listen-to-my-gut-instincts-about-people” muscles – which is another valuable skill to help you to become a winner at the game of life.)

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Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.

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