Mr. S's reminiscences were filled with memories of eager anticipation, excitement about possible gifts, and a happy gathering of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. However, intermixed with these anticipations was a sense of foreboding. This foreboding was founded on the past unpredictability of his father, an alcoholic, which had always darkened the holiday scene. Sometimes the day would pass uneventfully. At other times his father's violent outbursts would result in loved ones' making a hurried departure to save the family embarrassment. The result was unexpressed tension as family members held their breath, feeling helpless to avoid an unpredictable disaster. What Mr. S came to understand in psychotherapy was that in his current life he need not continue to be held hostage to these automatic anxieties. As an adult he need not recreate the scenes of his childhood. If problems arose, he could choose to confront them. There need be no hiding of problems, no scurrying away to avoid the facts, no passive resignation or fear of his own suppressed rage. This was the manner in which his parents and family had dealt with the matter when he was a child, but Mr. S need not recreate this scenario in his adult life.