Narcissists & the Sport of Seduce & Discard

narcfishingThe narcissistic tactic of seduce and discard is the solid foundation of the narcissist’s pathological relationship agenda. Everything else that the narcissist does – every manipulative ploy, behavior, and characteristic – is connected to this tactic and he counts on it to work for him every time, all the time, and for as long as his victim will allow it.

Seduce and discard, of course, is slang for the favored tactic used by narcissists and sociopaths to string us along for months and years without good intention. Seduce and discard is also the tactic that causes us the most grief because, even though it hurts, we keep coming back for more – and we don’t understand that! How does he do it and why do I keep taking him back? Why is it so hard to break up with the narcissist? The answer, my friends, is actually quite simple. To understand how the narcissist works and, more importantly, why we so willingly participate in his crime, simply imagine the narcissist as a recreational fisherman and us as his catch. In other words, we have to think like a fish.

Online Definition: The recreational fishermen catch fish for recreation or sports. The main purpose for recreational fishing is personal pleasure and it is totally opposite of professional fishing. The recreational is also known as sports fishing and sometimes there is a competition for recreational fishing. It is a common thing among the recreational fishermen to leave a fish back to the water before it dies. The most common technique used for recreational fishing is the angling, but other common techniques like hand gathering or spearing can also be used for this kind of fishing. Recreational fishing has nothing to do with business.

Simple translation: Think of the phrase…there’s plenty of other fish in the sea. Think of the “dating” website Plenty-of-Fish and why they refer to getting together as hooking up with someone.

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Sure, we can compare the pattern of seduce and discard to a game of cat and mouse but I find that comparing it to the sport of recreational fishing brings much more clarity. We, of course, are the fish and the narcissist, the fisherman, and for the duration of the relationship, he is either reeling us in or casting us out. That’s all he ever does! It’s a vicious cycle of cheating and hoovering and silent treatments and future-fakingand yet we still can’t seem to break free. And while the fisherman who allows his fish to live is maybe more compassionate than a fisherman who catches a fish and then fries it in a pan, the truth is that it’s the hook itself that fucking hurts.

Okay, so imagine what typically happens, say, a few weeks out after a Discard. Feeling that enough time has passed or perhaps sensing that you’re actually feeling better (can’t have that!), the narcissist fisherman ventures out for a relaxing day on his boat and casts out a few fishing lines. Being the experienced fisherman that he is, he knows exactly what type of bait to attach to each hook to get the fish that he wants. Most of the time, though, he’s trying to hook the easiest fish (that’s us) simply because the process is familiar and guarantees his supply. Why are we the easy fish, you ask? Well, because we have the shortest memories of all the other fish, that’s why! Casting out the line, he simply kicks back on the bow, enjoying the beautiful day and biding his time until we take the bait …because if there’s one characteristic that both a fisherman and a narcissist have in common, it’s patience. This is, of course, is the Seduce or what we know as the hoover maneuver.

As the easy fish, we swim nervously around near the bait, grappling with the fading memory of the prick of that hook. We’re thinking Maybe this time it won’t hurt so bad or Maybe this time it won’t hurt at all or Maybe he’s finally decided I’m his favorite fish in the sea. Either way, we inevitably go for it, chomping down on the baited hook and actually enjoying, for that split second, the familiarity of the pain. Feeling the tug, the narcissist fisherman is on it, carefully reeling us in with just the right amount of finesse so as not to lose his catch. He’s well aware that his easy fish – at the last minute – might try to wiggle away but by this time it’s too late. With a smirk and a smile, the narcissist holds up his squirming prize and admires his handy work.

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Sadly, even the easy fish knows that the narcissist’s devotion is directly related to how his other dangling lines are doing (because we all know that a fisherman often has several lines in the water). At some point, the narcissist will grab you by the waist and not so gently pry the hook loose before tossing you carelessly back into the water. This, of course, is the inevitable Discard. And only the fisherman knows how much time will pass before the game begins again.

The game of seduce and discard is how the narcissist or sociopath reels us in or casts us out – not unlike a fisherman who enjoys fishing for the sport alone. And we, unfortunately, tend to be in tune with that fish…the easy fish…the fish with the short-term memory. And what we allow will continue.

Although my comparison is obviously tongue-in-cheek, think about it. The scenario I describe is all there is! Even the differences between a high-level and low-level narcissist do not change this. One girl’s narcissist might have a fancier boat or a more expensive set of fishing poles or perhaps he baits his hook with caviar – who knows and who really cares? It’s all the fucking same every day all day and it will never ever change.

In the end, to a narcissist fisherman, the person who loves him the most is least important catch of the day. When we accept this as fact, we stop taking the bait and the vastness of the ocean looks a lot less scary.

Go No Contact. Swim away as fast as you can and don’t look back. Above all else, you deserve to be happy.

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  • Kelly

    April 20, 2017 at 8:53 am Reply

    Thank you so so much for your amazing articles. I think you may have saved me. I’ve been with him for 3 years and last weekend I hit absolute rock bottom. I found your articles a couple of days ago and my do I feel strong today. He got in touch today to “give me the opportunity to apologise to him” for upsetting him (I showed him photographic proof of a lie he told me-silent treatment ensued…) I though absolutely no way, not this time. I laughed in his face, turned on my heel and walked away (we work together) I did a little happy dance and thought of you! I will save this site and keep reading to try and get through the tough times ahead, I have a new job lined up in a few months and then I never have to see his evil face again. Thank you so much x

    • Zari Ballard

      April 25, 2017 at 3:11 pm Reply

      Your welcome, Kelly! I do hope you get the new job and make the final break:)


  • Geri

    September 2, 2016 at 3:15 pm Reply

    Are you aware of the proverb, “To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom. “Prov. 10 :23
    Seems to be describing a narcissist well.

    • Zari Ballard

      September 2, 2016 at 10:01 pm Reply

      Hi Geri,

      No I’m not aware of it but would it be saying that the narc is a smart deceiver because he understands that which he deceives?


  • Pam

    June 9, 2016 at 8:39 am Reply


    I wish you were here with me right now. I need a shouider to cry on no i mean sob on after what my bf just did to me. Out of the blue after 8 years suddenly he changes his phone number, stops calling me and when I try to confront him to find out why he freaks out and accuses me of stalking him and tells me to quit bothering him so he doesnt have to change his phone number again. I am so beside myself . I am completely and utterly heartbroken beyond belief.

    • Zari Ballard

      June 9, 2016 at 10:57 am Reply

      Hi Pam,

      I’m sorry you are going through this. I know it all too well. The disappearances, the number changes, being accused of stalking when all I wanted to do is know WHY he disappeared! Silent treatments almost killed me. I do provide phone consultations if you want to talk about it. Talking with someone who’s been there, done that ALWAYS makes things better.

      Understand that your suffering changes nothing. He’s always going to do what he wants to do. You oughta turn his silent treatment into YOUR no contact and block HIM from being able to contact you even if he wanted to. This guy will do this until the end of time. Eight years is long enough. I did it for 13 and others have done it for way longer than that! Don’t suffer. In the end, the result is the same. When I realized that, I started to appreciate the silences and eventually I’d be hoping he’d stay away longer than he did. You can do it. I know you can. If you want to talk, you can click on the link to get more info. I’m here if you need me…

      Zari xo

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