My name is Sam Vaknin and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
Why do narcissists laugh at funerals? Is there any connection at all between the narcissist's behavior and his emotions, the way he really feels?
I think a better way of putting it would be to ask if there is a correlation between the narcissist behavior and his professed or proclaimed emotions.
The reason is that the narcissist's emotions are merely professed and proclaimed. They are not felt. The narcissist fakes feelings and their outer expression in order to impress others or to gain their sympathy or to motivate them to act in a manner benefiting the narcissist and promoting his interests.
In this, as in many other simulated behavior patterns, the narcissist seeks to manipulate his human environment.
Inside, the narcissist is barren, devoid of any inkling of true feeling and disdainful of emotions and emotional people whom he considers to be weak. The narcissist looks down upon those who succumb to the weakness of sentiment and holds them in utter contempt. He berates, debases and demeans such people, people with emotions.
And this is the heartless mechanism of what I call simulated affect. It lies at the core of the narcissist's inability to empathize with his fellow human beings.
The narcissist has what I call emotional resonance tables, but no real emotions. The narcissist constantly lies both to himself and to others.
He defensively distorts facts and circumstances and provides consonant interpretations, rationalizes, intellectualizations, as to preserve his delusions of grandeur and feelings of unmerited self-importance.
And this is the mechanism of sliding of meanings.
This mechanism is part of a much larger set of emotional involvement prevention mechanisms.
Emotional involvement prevention mechanisms are intended to prevent the narcissist from getting emotionally involved or committed to anything of anyone.
This way, the narcissist ensures himself against getting hurt or abandoned, or so he erroneously believes, of course.
Actually, these mechanisms are self-defeating.
They lead directly to the results that they are intended to forestall. They mostly operate through emotional denial. The narcissist is estranged from his own emotions as a means of self-defense. He is alienated, but not from others, from himself.
Another characteristic of the narcissistic personality is the use that it makes of emotional delegation.
The narcissist, despite appearances, is human and is possessed of emotions and of emotional content.
But in an effort to defend himself against a repetition of past hurts, past pain, he delegates his emotions to a fictitious self, the false self.
It is the false self that interacts with the world. It is the false self that suffers and enjoys, gets attached and detached, joins and separates, develops likes and dislikes, preferences and prejudices, loves and hates.
Whatever happens to the narcissist, his experiences, the setbacks that he inevitably suffers, the humiliations, the adoration, the fears and the hopes, all these happen to one self removed, to the false self, not to the narcissist's true self, not to him self.
The narcissist is shielded by this construction of the false self. He lives in a padded cell of his own creation, an eternal observer, unharmed, embryo-like, in the womb of his false self.
No wonder that this duality, so entrenched, so fundamental to the narcissistic personality, is also so evident, so discernible.
This delegation of emotions is what unsettles those who interact with the narcissist.
The feeling that his true self is absent and that all the emoting is done by a forced emanation. Something is fake, something doesn't click, doesn't sound right. This kind of off-note. There's a forced note in every interaction with the narcissist.
The narcissist himself experiences this dichotomy, this break between his false self, which is his interface with the true world, and his true self, which is forever dormant in a no man's land.
The narcissist lives in this warped reality, divorced from his own emotions, constantly feeling that he is an actor in a film featuring his own life.
And this is the narcissist's reality, a film noir.