"Britney’s Worst Nightmare" screams UsWeekly‘s Feb. 26 cover story.
But that was the Britney Spears dumped and duped by exes. Her true nightmare: self-mutilation.
Her bizarre weekend head-shaving — her latest act of rebellion — could lead to something worse, and she needs to get help, fast, says famed Beverly Hills psychiatrist Dr. Carole Leiberman, who hasn’t treated the pop star.
"She needs to be in a hospital … there’s no doubt about it. If she doesn’t get to a hospital, there might be more of a tragedy than her losing her locks," Leiberman says. "She might take her self-loathing to a higher level. She could hurt herself worse, consciously or not. It could be a conscious suicide attempt or unconscious ‘supposed’ accident."
Shaving her head, said Leiberman, is anger turned inward.
"When women have had a big disappointment and are angry, they might end up taking it out on themselves. It’s a form of self-mutilation, whether cutting their wrists, cutting themelves somehow, or burning themselves.
"Those are acts of self-loathing. She is very angry at the world, men who have rejected or disappointed her, and she’s angry at the public for rejecting her, too."
UsWeekly reported she yelled, "F—- the Grammys!" into a live microphone at New York City hot spot Tenjune.
But Jupiter psychologist Dr. Nancy Vrechek says Spears’ actions may be due to postpartum depression.
"Obviously, she’s under some kind of extreme distress and people are speculating," says Vrechek. "But she could be in postpartum depression, experiencing extreme stress with a divorce and the paparazzi. People need to be a little more sympathetic."
Adds Palm Beach Gardens psychologist Dr. Florence Kaslow, "It’s hard to comment without knowing her. However, it seems an act of impulse and desperation, another way of keeping the attention focused on her that she says she doesn’t want. It seems to reflect a great deal of ambivalence about who she is and what she does want."
Spears is divorcing her husband of two years and the father of her two sons, Kevin Federline, and may still be pining for first love, Justin Timberlake, who was shown cozying up to Federline in a tabloid photo run by the magazine.
So getting rid of her crowning glory, her hair, is a desperate act to keep men from touching her and to keep her heart safe from being broken.
"She’s cutting off her femininity to protect herself from being hurt. For her, it has to do with both love and fame," says Leiberman.
In this desperate act, she has pushed away both any future lovers and the fan base she has created, the therapist said.
Spears supposedly checked into Crossroads Centre, a rehab facility in Antigua, and left after one day.
The singer’s exploits startled the owner of Esther’s Hair Salon in Tarzana, Calif., Friday, when she walked into the beauty parlor and starting shaving her own head when owner Esther Tognozzi refused to do it. US Weekly reported that the pop star said her extensions were too tight and were hurting her.
"Are you sure you’re not having a bad day?" Tognozzi recalled asking Spears. "And tomorrow you’ll feel differently about it?
"Why don’t we wait a little bit?"
At that point, Tognozzi said, the singer grabbed some electric clippers and went to the back of the shop and began cutting her hair off.
All Tognozzi did was "even it out," the salon owner said.
Sources at the salon said Britney had "a blank face and showed no emotion."
The now-bald Spears followed the buzz cut by getting tiny tattoos — a pair of red and pink lips.
"Britney’s former secretary said she wanted the public to know that Britney’s family is doing all they can," said Leiberman. "If they were, they would drive her into an emergency room."