Merry Christmas? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Lately I’ve been feeling like Tony Soprano. I’ve never whacked anyone and I don’t weigh as much as he does but we’ve both had really charged relationships with our opposite-sex parent, serious romantic struggles, and positive experiences with talk therapy.

But after a year and a half of shooting the breeze with my own Upper East Side version of Dr. Jennifer Melfi I’d finally decided to stop. December 22 was the last session and I spent the entire fifty minutes telling my shrink how well-adjusted, stable and less frightened I was, how confident I felt about my relationship with my family.

Then I went to spend Christmas at my parents’ country house. Big mistake. My father and I always have a huge fight over Christmas (because we’re Jewish and feel no obligation to put on airs for the sake of Yuletide spirit), and I should have known this year wouldn’t be different.

My mom, dad and I had just begun the post-Chinese-takeout-dinner-Scrabble game (my brother and cousin Dan were watching the Knicks in the next room) and my mom had put down her first word when I decided to pick a fight. “How come you’re so much less competitive than the rest of us?” I asked her. “Is it because your parents put all the pressure on your brother so you were kind of let off the hook?”

“What are you getting at?” said my dad.

“It’s not easy being raised to believe the sun rises and sets with you,” I said imperiously.

“Perhaps if I hadn’t had such an overbearing father I’d be better-adjusted. I wouldn’t care so much about who wins the stupid game.” I set down a 28-point word.

“You’re too angry,” said my father. “Some people hold grudges for a day, you hold them for a lifetime.” He put down a 7-letter word with a 50-point bonus.

“I’m not holding a grudge! I just think you should try to understand how the way you raise your kids affects them as adults.”

“You think I failed you. That’s what you talk about in therapy.”

“You’re the one who thinks you failed me. And I stopped therapy.”

His jaw dropped and he grinned from ear to ear. “You did?”

“Yes, but I don’t want you to feel like you’re off the hook,” I said, sighing.

“I don’t feel that way at all! In fact, maybe now that you’ve stopped, I could start!”

I rolled my eyes. “Are you seriously thinking about going?”

“Yeah, but there’s just one problem. I don’t have any issues.”

“Are you out of your mind?” I shouted. “You have a ton! You lost a parent in childhood, you’re severely depressed, you’re terrified of failure, and you put way too much pressure on your kids.”

“All that’s true, but there’s nothing going wrong in my present life. When you started therapy it was because you couldn’t get your love life together, because you were in that abusive relationship -”

“That wasn’t why I went!”

“Then why did you?

“Because you failed me!” I stormed into the next room.

“What’s going on?” said my brother.

“I tried to deconstruct them but now I’m getting deconstructed!” I wailed.

“Just do what everyone in the family does,” said Dan. “Go back out there and pretend nothing’s wrong.”

So I did, and the rest of the game went by without a hitch, although it was pretty silent. My dad didn’t say another word about therapy, his or mine, and my mom, despite her noncompetitive spirit, wound up winning the game.

When we got back to the city my mom asked if I wanted to come over. “No,” I said. “I’m watching the reprise of last season’s Sopranos.” Another big mistake.

As soon as I saw Tony spilling his guts to Dr. Melfi about his mother problems, I wanted to crawl right back to my own shrink. Lorraine Bracco was so comforting, inquisitive and placid that I forgot all about her bitter real-life custody dispute and began to wish I was under her guidance. Whatever happened to escapist entertainment? Wasn’t TV supposed to make you feel better about your life?

Maybe I’d stopped my treatment too soon. My dad still misunderstood me, put way too much career pressure on me, and talked about me behind my back, just like Livia Soprano. So maybe he wasn’t trying to off me, but in my mind he just might have been.

Despite all my therapy, I was still afraid of disappointing him. Just like Tony said, “No matter what I do I feel guilty.” And I wasn’t just guilty, I was angry. But I hadn’t fully owned that anger. It was defining me. I remoted off the TV after the second excruciating hour, and lay back on my couch with a sigh.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.