Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing” as Want to Read:
Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  296 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Your ex-spouse is bad mouthing you to your children, constantly portraying you in a negative light, perhaps even trying to turn them against you. If you handle the situation ineffectively, your relationship with your children could suffer. You could lose their respect, lose their affections-even, in extreme cases, lose all contact with them. The conventional advice is to d ...more
Paperback, Updated, 352 pages
Published January 19th 2010 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Divorce Poison, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Divorce Poison

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Lindsay Person
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I emailed the author and he actually wrote me back!!! He recommended a Seattle based therapist for my son. His insights on my unique (as everyone's story is) situation were heartfelt and thorough.
My copy was given to me by a best friend pre underlined/ highlighted and sticky tabbed. She was aware I would rely on it and reference it daily before I was aware how much I needed to have it!
At times I felt both sides of an issue were presented as equally true/valid/good/bad. Which emphasized for me
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally! A book that advocates a parent standing up for themselves (appropriately) when the ex-spouse bad-mouths them to the children! Great new exploration of the kids-divorce dilemma.
Missy Olive
This book was a tough read for me. First, I ordered the book as part of my homework for my own book on Step Mommy Discipline. I am not really sure how it ended up in my Amazon Shopping Cart as it does not really relate to my research. Second, the book was hard for me because I'm a Bonus Mommy and watching what the kids (and their siblings) have been going through in recent months is extremely difficult at best.

Divorce Poison is not for parents (at least not in my professional opinion). The book
Gary Nees
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent for those divorcing with kids of any age

Before reading this book, the best advice I had gotten was to leave the kids out of it, which had been my goal when the divorce process started. Sometimes that is just not possible, especially if the other parent is waging a war against you via the kids. This is cutting-edge advice on how to heal that situation
Eric Ogilvie
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overall on aspects of divorce, especially when children are involved. Both broad and in-depth on very difficult subjects. Very enlightening. Given the subject matter and unique concepts it can take longer than average to read, but it is worth the time.
Carter Maysilles
My sister was going through (and still is, to some degree) a horrible situation that involved parental alienation from her ex. We, as a family, had never heard of parental alienation, but knew that the ex was systematically brainwashing the 7- and 9-year-old girls into being scared of their mother (he told them that she was poisoning their food, that she was going to drive them into a lake if they got in her car, that she she was a whore with any other male that she spoke too, etc.). It was work ...more
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel that all parents who are splitting up should be required to read this book. My step-daughter made false allegations of verbal and mental abuse against her father, in my opinion to appease her mother, as well as to get her way for other reasons. I don't believe this young lady has considered how her actions will negatively affect her life in the coming years, and I know it will.

I don't think she is truly prepared to really lose her father, her little sister (who fortunately won't remember
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a practicing family law lawyer and was referred this book by a client. It was very helpful for me to understand parental alienation better and to give my clients some tools to help them fight it when I spot it. In fact, if I think there is going to be some attempted parental alienation happening in my cases, I have my clients read the book from the start of the action. My only criticism of the book is that it gives sporadic advice throughout the book. I would have preferred that the advice ...more
Erin Brady
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is without a doubt a book every divorcing parent should read. A lot of books written about children and divorce talks about how the parents can work well together and what methods they can use to do that. This is the first book I've come across that talks about what happens when that solution doesn't work. It has the ability to open your eyes to how much damage a parent can cause a child if they don't learn how to cooperate and in what ways this damage is being caused. This book broke my he ...more
Lisa Thomson
this is a must read if you're going through co-parenting nightmares. If your ex is possessive with the children Dr. Warshak offers tips on how to handle situations and how to tell the difference between normal behaviors and Parental Alienation. PA is a very destructive syndrome that some divorced parents will stoop to maintain their children's loyalty, at the other parents expense. This is a no nonsense guide on how to talk to your kids about it and preserve your relationship with your children ...more
Stacy Daniel
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We learned too late, unfortunately that staying silent against the poison from the other parent was not the answer. Thinking that you don't want to further implicate your child is your instinct. They are adults now and unfortunately our completely out of the grasp of recovery. But reading this book it was almost like it was written on our specific scenario. It was scarey. Hopefully one day, the truth will be recognized.
May 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: June Rochford
Recommended to James by: Dennis Wallstrom
This was an excellent book. I learned a tremendous amount about divorce poison and parental/pathological alienation syndrome. I would recommend this book to anyone that is going through a contentious divorce or who has suspected that their ex-spouse is engaged in a campaign of alienation. Divorce poison is, apparently, not something that should be taken lightly or allowed to continue without a prompt and direct response.
Janet Ferguson
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a one-of-a-kind resource for any parent trying desperately to figure out how to extricate and protect a child from an alienating/brainwashing parent. The research is thorough and the advice is clear and well-organized. It is heartbreaking that we have a need for such a book. But, we clearly do and that need is increasing. I will recommend this book to many divorcing/divorced parents.
Vicki Dull
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has so much information in it - from why and how parental alienation occurs, to what one can do to help protect children from it, to what can be done to try to re-establish contact with adult children who are alienated. I found it to be not only a great source of understanding, but also of hope in the midst.
Amy Britt
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good advice for people stuck in a bad situation. Particularly good for getting past the idea that "you should never say anything to your kids about the conflict ever" and dealing more practically with what you do when the other parent is already involving them. The examples in the book are extreme, and if nothing else, they may help you feel better about your own situation.
Apr 23, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
A friend let me borrow a copy after she told me about being a child of divorced parents. I am not divorced nor were my parents but it's a situation of many people I care about and self-help is a hobby of mine.
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is both heartbreaking and needed. If you suspect divorce poison at all I would suggest reading this book. The Courts may not see what is going on but it does give real and beneficial ways for attempting to keep the relationship in tact.
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
A must read for any divorced parent suffering from alienation from their children at the hands of a manipulative and bitter ex. Discusses how to fight back against the brainwashing of your children and how to see if you are truly dealing with parental alienation. A powerful book.
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Wish I had read this before my ex turned my 15 year old son against me. But, this book has given me hope that he will come back one day. Also, the tips and advice the author gives I'm already doing.
Apr 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its sad these books are necessary, but I thankful someone is helping to educate parents on the essentials of protecting a parent/child bond, when one parent is malicious and hateful.
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreakingly true but helpful and enlightening for anyone experiencing alienation of their children by an ex-spouse.
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a shame there even has to be a book on this. I found helpful ways to deal with the Ex (and step monster) to keep my own sanity.
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book for anyone who's divorced or involved in a divorced situation that involves high tension and conflict. Completely eye opening.
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Originally read March 11-19, 2014.
May 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good resource if you have children and a vindictive ex or, perhaps, suspect that you yourself were a victim of divorce poison by one of your parents.
Michelle Sjodin
Oct 07, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
very good & informative so far
very helpful in a terrible situation... it is all about trying to help the children through the tremendous emotional difficulties of divorce. This book was very eye-opening for me.
Oct 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good. I am not finished, but it is helping me to know what to do day to day with the kids and being in a divorce.
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mostly this book made me very sad, due to the truth it outlined. Pray for broken homes and the children raised in them.
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is for anyone who is dealing with a manipulative ex trying to brainwash your children against you. READ IT
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Joint Custody with a Jerk: Raising a Child with an Uncooperative Ex
  • The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students
  • Mom's House, Dad's House: Making Two Homes for Your Child
  • Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do
  • A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce
  • Dealing with the CrazyMakers in Your Life: Setting Boundaries on Unhealthy Relationships
  • Staying Connected To Your Teenager: How To Keep Them Talking To You And How To Hear What They're Really Saying
  • 4 Weeks to an Organized Life with Ad/HD
  • The Ultimate Journey: Consciousness and the Mystery of Death
  • Lifeskills for Adult Children
  • Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD: Beyond Piles, Palms,  Post-its
  • Kids Beyond Limits: The Anat Baniel Method for Awakening the Brain and Transforming the Life of Your  Child With Special Needs
  • The Behavior of Organisms
  • The Mindful Path through Shyness: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Help Free You from Social Anxiety, Fear, and Avoidance
  • Why a Daughter Needs a Dad: A Hundred Reasons
  • What Stories Does My Son Need?: A Guide to Books and Movies that Build Character in Boys
  • Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce
  • Adult Children of Abusive Parents
Dr. Richard A. Warshak is a clinical, consulting, and research psychologist in private practice in Dallas, Texas with more than thirty years experience.

He grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., graduated from Midwood High School, and earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. in 1978 from U.T.’s Southwestern Medical Center where is now a Clinical Professor of Psychology. Dr
More about Richard A. Warshak...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“If your children understand that the bashing is unjustified, help them understand that this is an adult problem. It is not their job to correct the parent doing the bashing or to defend the target of the bashing. Let them know that you will understand their reluctance to show affection for you in the presence of their other parent. Assure them that you will always know they love you, even when they do not show it. Teach the children how to accept the reality of the bashing rather than pretend it does not exist. The healthiest stance is to adopt a matter-of-fact attitude. The bashing exists. It is irrational. It is unpleasant. And they can’t do anything about it. Compare the bashing episodes to thunderstorms. We do not like being exposed to rain, thunder, and lightning, but we do not deny their unpleasant reality. If we pretended the storm did not exist we would do nothing to protect ourselves. Instead we accept the fact of the storm’s existence and its inevitability. We also accept that we are powerless to control the storm. We ease our fear through better understanding of the phenomena. And we protect ourselves by taking cover, or removing ourselves from the storm’s path. In the same manner children can tell themselves, “Uh-oh, Dad’s at it again. Let’s get out of his way and find something else to do until the storm blows over.” If you are the target of bashing, you must respond in a knowledgeable and effective manner. If you fail to do so, you may be allowing an even more harmful process to take root.” 0 likes
“Because narcissists use divorce poison to compensate for feeling inferior as parents, anything you can do to support their egos in a reasonable manner may lessen their need to put you down. For example, encourage them to make unique contributions to their children’s lives, contributions they can brag about. This might be participating in scouts or assisting with special school projects. Narcissists are exquisitely sensitive to appearances. It can be helpful for them to retain the legal title of joint custodian even if the children spend relatively little time in their care and the other parent retains the authority to make most decisions. If, instead, the court strips them of this title, the resulting loss of face could exacerbate the brainwashing.” 0 likes
More quotes…