I have often described a glazed-eye expression narcissists get when their amygdalae get over stimulated, and they are approaching the point where amygdala failure begins to produce interesting brain dysfunction.
This is a good picture describing what I am talking about on NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. In the picture, his brain is going a mile a minute, at the border of its operational capacity. From here it would take very little excess stress to overload the structure. If you look closely, you can almost see the amygdala behind the eyes getting overwhelmed, and failing to scan his whole visual field, prioritize all of the items according to importance, and focus the eyes on a single item in front of him. It is almost as if the focusing function of the amygdala has shut down, and he is suddenly overwhelmed by the sum total of all the things in front of him, all at once.
Christie doesn’t seem to have any gross psychological problems, and his amygdala is at ease when dealing with the media, so he is a good control in the photos. If you imagine something suddenly popping up in front of Cuomo, I would see him being startled/overwhelmed by fairly minor stimuli, and needing a moment to assess even the most minor stimuli, while I would see Christie’s amygdala smoothly transitioning his focus from what holds it in the photo, to the new stimuli, nearly instantly.
Here are a couple more pictures of Cuomo with a similar expression. Notice in the first one, even Christie seems to be examining his face, noting something usual.
If you want to develop your ability to see this quality, look at Christie’s face, imitate it yourself while looking at yourself in a mirror (until you mimic it perfectly), and imagine how you would feel. Then do the same with Cuomo. As you imitate these faces, ask yourself, would you feel at ease, or tense? Would you be relaxed on a beach, or would you be tied up and helpless, watching a guy in a hockey mask about to kill you with a chainsaw, knowing it was the end? As you begin to feel the difference, switch back and forth, again and again, trying to feel the difference in you, as suddenly as possible after laying eyes on each face. As time goes on, you will be surprised how quickly you begin to instantly feel these subtle underlying moods in new people you meet.
I have never seen anyone who has the extensively distorted facial characteristics of Cuomo, short of my favorite Narcissist, Bob. Bob, however was more depressive/sad rabbit. Cuomo is angry/panicked-rabbit. To hijack Bob, I would push him towards depression and hopelessness. To hijack Cuomo, I would push him towards rage with personally-attacking dog-whistles, and threats to his social status.
I can’t say for certain that Cuomo’s condition is as bad as his facial expression would indicate. There is a part of me thinking he may be on some sort of psychotropic meds, maybe an antidepressant of some sort that is jacking him up. From my experience, it is entirely possible that eyes like that are natural, and not pharmacologically enhanced though.
It is also possible Cuomo is that way due to some facet of what he was experiencing there. Perhaps he had experiences being bullied by groups of children as a kid, and being assailed by media questions reminds him of that. It is also very possible he had just received word of bad news on the corruption front right before these photos were snapped, and that had pre-stimulated his amygdala
Perhaps more likely however, he felt inferior next to Christie, because the story told at that press conference was that Christie had, like a leader, decided he was going to act to quarantine possible Ebola patients arriving in NJ. I would not be at all surprised if, in Cuomo’s mind, he was just following Christie’s lead, like a good little obedient lapdog, doing what Christie had decided. Cuomo even backtracked later, saying he wasn’t going to do it after all. (For a narcissist, once following Christie became triggering, the narcissist would have to reject Christie to alleviate the aversive stimulus.)
If I were to try and hijack Cuomo in debate, I would first make a casual mention of how nice his younger brother seemed, and how happy he always was. I’d segue into how everyone always loves Chris, and then leave it to sit there. He has a long lasting relationship with Chris, so I would assume picturing Chris happy, liked, and well thought of, would activate a subtle anger at his own ignored status and unhappy disposition.
From there, the goal would be to subtly portray Cuomo as incompetent, unlikable, and acting in his own interest instead of the groups at every opportunity. You would not have to do it blatantly or overtly – I suspect Cuomo is hypersensitive to such stimuli. You would use all of that to relentlessly, but subtly denigrate his stature and authority, while remaining in good nature, or even still faced and uncaring.
Usually I had to exert some effort to get to the glazed-eye look, at which point I would then pour it on until the melt-down. If Cuomo begins out of the box, glazed eye’d and bracing, he should be a remarkably easy target to amygdala hijack.
Still I am amazed the public, even the rubes in a liberal state like NY, could be so foolish as to elect any leader who wears that expression.