“…relationship poisoning can be more broadly defined as the performance of unjust behavior by one person to deliberately turn a third party against a second person”  (p. 102)

Ira Turkat



Turkat, I.D. (1999) Relationship poisoning in custody and access disputes. American Journal of Family Law, 13, 101-104.


A parent tries to unjustly turn a child against the other parent.  An adult tries to manipulate an elderly person to unjustly disinherit that elderly person’s grown child.  These are examples of relationship poisoning and the victim may not be aware of the manipulation until it is too late.  In a short period of time, the perpetrator’s ugly selfish behavior can destroy what was once a beautiful loving relationship between two other people.  Whether or not the act of relationship poisoning is successful, the behavior itself is still abnormal and destructive.  Relationship poisoning can occur outside of families as well, such as in the workplace.

In custody battles where relationship poisoning occurs, it may or may not lead to Parental Alienation Syndrome; regardless, unsuccessful relationship poisoning is still abnormal, destructive behavior.

In estate litigation where relationship poisoning occurs, efforts to unduly influence an elderly parent whether successful or not are likewise still abnormal, destructive behavior.