Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self Love, a book on narcissism, writes the following in response to a question of the narcissist’s inappropriate affect:
Why is there no connection between the behaviour of the narcissist and his emotions?
A better way of putting it would be that there is a weak correlation between the narcissist’s behaviour and his professed or proclaimed emotions. The reason is that his emotions are merely professed or proclaimed – but not felt. The narcissist fakes feelings and their outer expression in order to impress others, 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 behaviour patterns — the narcissist seeks to manipulate his human environment. Inside, he is barren, devoid of any inkling of true feeling, and disdainful of emotions and emotional people. He looks down upon those who succumb to the weakness of sentiment and holds them in contempt. He berates and debases them.
This is the heartless mechanism of “simulated affect”. It lies at the core of the narcissist’s inability to empathise with his fellow human beings.
To what extent does this explain this increasingly disconnected behavior of Michelle and Barack Obama? At first glance, quite a bit. But maybe it’s simpler. Maybe Michelle and Barack just assume the president is not going to be re-elected, so why bother to keep up pretenses?