How 'Makeover' Mania Can Work Against You

Hear it from Stacy D. Phillips, that too much makeover--referring to the outer world changes you make, like redesigning the house, and the office, and the yard--can be detrimental to your divorce recovery process.

By Stacy D. Phillips, Author and Certified Family Law Specialist
Updated: March 17, 2015
Health and Well Being

The following is the seventh segment in a 13-part series based on the book, Divorce: It's All About Control -- How to Win the Emotional, Psychological and Legal Wars, by renowned family law specialist and managing partner of Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation in Los Angeles, Calif. This continuing series deals with one of the most destructive wars — the Internal Wars — and the Enemies Within, all of which can be just as devastating as the emotional, psychological and legal wars. The Internal Wars deal with "way too much" and "far too little," -- both of which can be vicious enemies. As I mentioned in the prior four segments which covered alcohol/drugs, over-spending, gambling and overeating, each one of the Internal Wars deals with self-abuse in one way or another. This segment highlights overworking.


Blindly plunging into a Makeover War is another very common conflict from within. Some believe that by altering their physical appearance they will change their lives. I will not argue with that. In fact, I think a physical makeover is a great idea: new look, new attitude. But when a person goes nuts with altering his or her appearance or does so radically, or finds the need to continuously opt for some new vanity "addendum," he or she can also become Out of Control! I know both men and women who have had several cosmetic procedures in just a few months. What constitutes a full-on Makeover War is when someone is not satisfied with a makeover but keeps opting for one more physical change. This might include liposuction one day and two months later a face lift, and three months after that a brow lift, and, well...the list of procedures can be endless. Same goes for those who have red hair one week, blonde the next.... People who feel the constant need to "upgrade" their appearance because they are seemingly never satisfied. They are clearly at War with the "Image" -- his or her perception of what they think will be attractive to the opposite sex and also what will elevate their sense self worth.

Do not think I am restricting Makeovers to just one's physical appearance. Makeover Mania can extend to all things physical such as one's home or office. I know of one divorcee who changed the color of her Mercedes from beige to fire engine red, another who ripped out all her rose bushes to plunk in a pool.

Again, I make no judgments on anyone's need or desire to change his or her look, physically or the motif of his/her possessions, my concern becomes legitimate when someone is overly-obsessive about how they look or how their belongings appear and when they are constantly finding excuses to do something new to make himself or herself look or feel better. When the need overtakes practicality, I suggest you step back and take a good look (not just in visual terms) at what you are doing but more importantly, why. Makeovers are fast becoming finalists in the "Way Too Much" War within.

The following is a list of reasons why you may want to sit yourself down for a heart-to-heart talk on whether the Makeover War is taking over:

  1. If I keep on this mission, I may never be satisfied with how I look or what I have.
  2. I do not want my ex to think I am trying to prove how desirable I am to others.
  3. Constant makeovers could get terribly expensive.
  4. I, or my surroundings, may begin to look a little "overdone."
  5. I may be spending money that should be spent on other things
  6. I may not be unable to "undo" what I have done (if I find I do not like the results).
  7. The constant change in my looks or physical surroundings may disturb my children in that they will not think I am the same person I was or feel secure with things familiar to them!
  8. Focusing on makeover issues may preclude me from dealing with my real issues.
  9. 9. My outward appearances will be in Control; I will not.

Now, just as you have done after reviewing the prior segment lists, itemize your very personal reasons for resisting the temptation to go to "makeover" madness. Your list may include only a few reasons and that is all right.


Stacy D. Phillips is a co-founder of Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation, which specializes in high-profile family law matters. She is co-chair of the Women's Political Committee and a member of Divorce Magazine's North American Advisory Board. She can be reached at (310) 277-7117. View her firm's Divorce Magazine profile here.

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November 21, 2009
Categories:  Coping with Divorce

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