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Upcoming Family Event

HowBoutScottyDont's picture

My SD18 is graduating in from HS in June, and headed to college in the fall out of state (that is a whole other ball of issues... not really related to this). My DH's brother (BIL) and sister-in-law (SIL) are planning on coming to the graduation, as are the DH's parents and some of their siblings. Pretty normal for a HS graduation.

Except that BIL and SIL have stirred up quite a bit of trouble for me... or atleast attempted to. He is nice to my face, but says horrible, untrue things about me. MIL and FIL chalk it up to "that's just the way he/they are" and "just ignore him/them". SIL is more subtle and tends to incite BIL, who does most of the talking, but she has had some key moments of irrational yelling at me and DH when she's drunk.  I have always been polite to them, made an effort to get to know them and held my tongue as needed.

SIL is an angry alcoholic, BIL drinks heavily but not to the extent that SIL does, they both have cheated on one another, and they fight badly (i.e. police called to the house by the neighbors).  The drinking has become worse in recent years, and at the last get together (MIL and FIL were not present), SIL was sloppy drunk in front of her own kids and spilled some of the beans about their issues, so I don't know how much longer they will keep up the charade of "happy family". I only know about all this because they revealed alot to DH while he was visiting their home. 

So here is my dilemma. Given BIL and SILs prior behavior towards me as well as their excessive drinking, I have  told DH that they will not be staying with us during the graduation. DH agreed that they need to stay in a hotel. DH has had numerous issues with BIL over the years but maintains hope that someday, they will reconcile. But, DH does want to have everyone over for a small family get together. That means BIL and SIL would attend. I cringe of the thought of them in my home, but I don't know how to avoid it.

Here is what I want to say to DH about rules that I hope we can agree on:

Day before graduation: We meet out at a vineyard (yes, I know... alcoholic at a vineyard but the woman will drink wherever she goes... even bringing wine in a water bottle to dry events). There is a family friendly one about 30 minutes from us that has a covered picnic area, stuff for the kids, live music, and an overall relaxed environment. We meet there at 11am. SIL will inevitably have herself a few glasses of wine with lunch. From there, she will want to go back to the hotel to sleep. The owners of this place are strict - if they see anyone drinking too much, they ask them to leave and will take keys away.  My parents and I will have our own car, so if SIL/BIL are asses, my parents and I can head home with the LOs.  ***But this is where I'm stuck. DH will likely want to have everyone over that evening for a BBQ. And I am very much concerned about things taking a turn for the worse. This will be where SIL and BIL are more likely to drink and act the fool. If MIL and FIL go back early to the hotel, I could easily see BIL and SIL staying later and partying up. Do I just go to bed after I get LOs to sleep around 8pm, and ask that everyone move the party outside? We have a screened in area so even if its raining, people can be out there. Do I ask that DH limit the amount of alcohol we have in the house?***

Day of graduation: We all meet at the graduation hall. Post grad party at our home is from 4pm - 8pm. This will absolutely be a dry party. SD18's friends will be there; we do not want to risk anyone drinking and driving.  After 8pm, the LOs will be going to bed. I believe that BIL and SIL will be heading home that evening anyway, so while they might stop by our home, it will be a quick goodbye.

Prior to the graduation weekend (Wed - Fri) BIL and SIL are sightseeing in our area, about an hour from us, so we won't have to deal with them then.


flmomma08's picture

I would not have anyone at the house the night before. Say you are busy getting ready for graduation day. You’re already having a party after - I don’t see the reason to have people over twice. 

simifan's picture

I'd do dinner at a resturant where you can leave. I would not have people like this at my home. 

Aniki's picture

I agree with dinner at a restaurant. If your DH reeeeeally wants a barbecue, have it a nearby park.

Rags's picture

I would script a number of responses for what based on your experience with this people are likely behaviors you will experience with them during the multiple day graduation event.

Zero tolerance is IMHO the only way to deal with toxic people.   If they pull their historic toxic and confrontation crap with you quickly adapt your scripted responses to th e situation that unfolds and shred them in real time in front of whoever is present.   Toxic people like this make everyone uncomfortable and shutting them down as brutally as is necessary minimizes the duration of discomfort for everyone.


"You are both boozer drunk pieces of shit and  you need to shut up or leave the presence of polite company.  No one cares about what you think or feel.  So, pull your heads out of your asses and be pleasant or shit is going to get real and  you will not like it. Don't make me give you clarity on how much your own kids can't believe  your crap."

Hopefully you will not need to shred them. But it is better to be prepared and ready if necessary than unprepared.

Bare their asses brutally and publicly and they will either avoid the presence of people who won't tolerate their crap, or, they will adjust their behavior.

Either way... is a win win for everyone.  And while it may appear to not include them n the win column.  If they either stay away or improve their behavior. It is a win for them too.

IMHO of course.

Good luck.

Congratulations to SD, DH, and the family on graduation.