Question: Do narcissists feel emotions?
Yes. Narcissists do not lack the ability to feel emotions, they lack emotional and compassionate empathy.
Their genuine emotions are towards their own perspective and are mostly rooted in what some call “negative” emotions.
However, their range of emotions is limited compared to empaths or people who do not exhibit structural abnormalities in the volume of grey matter in their brains, which is related to empathy.
One of the benefits (to the narcissist) of relationships with empathic individuals is they can study your emotions. These are typically those who are more manipulative and aware of their actions, so those higher on the narcissism spectrum.
They will study your emotions and response to situations, your facial expressions, and your body language. These narcissists do have an understanding and experiences that their lack of what others consider a “normal” emotional response makes them look uncaring or odd, so they add your response to their cognitive empathy database and use them when necessary, meaning they act them out just like an actor in a movie.
So while their genuine emotions are towards their own experiences, they can fake a larger range of emotions they have learned, but they don’t feel them.
Something interesting you may notice is a pattern of delays in their emotional responses that don’t concern their genuine feelings. This is because they are pulling from their database as to what they believe the right response would be. The higher the skill level, the less the delay.
Also, if it’s a scenario that plays out often in their life, the delay might not be noticeable because they are already rehearsed for it. Such as a therapist reacting to the same story they hear each day from their clients.