Credible Threat of Violence
Current Events, This Just In

What is the legal definition of a credible threat of violence?

What is the legal definition of a credible threat of violence? That depends on which country or state that you are living in, as the judiciary term is typically defined in such a way to best allow civil justice officials to effectively protect and defend constituents.

Depending on how a country or state’s civil or criminal justice system is laid out, people who make threats may be guilty of something as simple as a misdemeanor or a full-blown felony crime.

Credible threat typically involves one person using aggressive language or menacing actions to cause their target or a group of targets to fear for their personal safety. Along with a credible threat of violence comes the implication that a victim should fear for their life or person.

People who make credible threats of violence are oftentimes personally involved with the person they are threatening, related to them, are tied in some way by a romantic liaison, or they can be a stranger with an Erotomania fixation on a group or person. If you are personally being threatened by someone with whom you live, then the abuse tends to fall under the broad classification of Domestic Abuse.

But that leaves a wide girth of non-protection from a person or group who, for whatever reason, decides to bully, threaten, and harass other human(s). Again, some laws protect predators, while others have been written to protect victims from toxic strangers or acquaintances who are psychologically unstable or run of the mill social predators.

California lawmakers in the United States, for instance, elected to address the legal definition of a credible social threat as a civil (rather than criminal) matter. When it came to defining menacing behaviors that constitute a credible threat, they were clear to specify in their statutes that different types of Abusers present credible threats on an almost sliding scale of abuse magnitude as follows:

In general, civil harassment is abuse, threats of abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or serious harassment by someone you have not dated and do NOT have a close family relationship with, like a neighbor, a roommate, or a friend (that you have never dated). It is also civil harassment if the abuse is from a family member that is not included in the list under domestic violence. So, for example, if the abuse is from an uncle or aunt, a niece or nephew, or a cousin, it is considered civil harassment and NOT domestic violence.

The civil harassment laws say “harassment” is:

  • Unlawful violence, like assault or battery or stalking, OR
  • A credible threat of violence, AND
  • The violence or threats seriously scare, annoy, or harass someone and there is no valid reason for it.

“Credible threat of violence” means intentionally saying something or acting in a way that would make a reasonable person afraid for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family. A “credible threat of violence” includes following or stalking someone or making harassing calls or sending harassing messages (by phone, mail, or e-mail) over a period of time (even if it is a short time).


Some states in America have elected to approach defining what is and what is not a credible threat a bit differently (arguably for the purpose of allowing law enforcement to help protect citizens from Narcissistic Abuse). As a compare and contrast example, Florida lawmakers elected to define the phrase “credible threat” as follows:

“Credible threat” means a verbal or nonverbal threat, or a combination of the two, including threats delivered by electronic communication or implied by a pattern of conduct, which places the person who is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family members or individuals closely associated with the person, and which is made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat to cause such harm. It is not necessary to prove that the person making the threat had the intent to actually carry out the threat. The present incarceration of the person making the threat is not a bar to prosecution under this section.


Lawmakers in New York handle the terminology in a different way. According to their justice system, credible threats must contain the following evidence in order to meet their criteria and standards for social abuse. Their state law defines the term more stridently and loosely in a juxtaposed sense, placing the burden of proof on the victim to a hefty degree.

Connect the Dots
Narcopath symptoms list includes bullying people who love holidays

There, a person who is being threatened must not only prove that a threat was issued but that the person threatening engaged in a persistent pattern of menacing behavior. That means one threat made is not enough to get a predator stopped legally from continuing to bully. In New York, a person being threatened must prove they are in fear, have been repeatedly harassed or menaced, and essentially has to show that the person threatening them intends to cause bodily harm to them or material damages to some sort of property they own while engaging in an act of deliberate harassment.

The phrase New York lawmakers rely on to prove such disconcerting Narcissistic Abuse is “course of conduct”. There, with or without making direct overt threats to do harm, they allow persistent actions like making repeated unwanted contact, sending harassing and defaming letters, doing things like sending a love interest a rejected suitor is angry at something like a destroyed teddy bear or bouquet of dead flowers or showing up in a targeted victim’s neighborhood at places they are known to frequent in an attempt to catch a glimpse, provoke a run in, or to simply frighten them.

But whatever the state, federal, or national laws in your country of origin might be, one thing is for certain. It only takes one utterance of a threat or one intentionally menacing gesture by a person with a Cluster B personality disorder to cause great distress for both the target themselves and any collateral damage victims. Harming an ex, for instance, by threatening to harm them or their child, can have a lifetime toxic effect not only on the targeted love interest.

Having to live in fear, experiencing profound social anxiety, not being able to do simple things like play outside safely or be able to go over and spend the night at a friend’s house because an angry person with a REVENGE OBSESSION on a former life mate can truly permanently damage and negatively affect a child who otherwise would only be considered tangentially involved. Listening to a mother verbally abuse and threaten to kill or do bodily harm to a father figure can also cause a child forced to witness the abusive power-and-control themed drama for the rest of their lifetime.

Narcissistic Abuse only has to happen one time to produce PSTD and serious trauma in a victim or person who happens to witness it. When abuse is pattern behavior for an Abuser, it takes an enormous toll on the lifestyle, physical health, and mental health of the targeted person and any person who knows or is personally related to the preferred scapegoat or target to a whole other level.

When discussing credible threats and terrorism, one recent person interviewed in a Time Magazine article said that credible threats come from sources that prove to be reliable. When discussing whether or not terror threats coming in from people claiming to be terrorists from Afghanistan were “reliable” sources, the American government elected to lean to the side of thinking yes.

Connect the Dots
Seasonal Wrecking Balls: Narcissistic people hate holidays like Christmas

But when a person — your next-door neighbor — makes a threat against a person or family member, many times it’s done covertly. There’s no big proclamation made, designed, and intending to scare or terrorize a large number of people.

While the woman who recently went raging through Target, brandishing a bible like a weapon and verbally accosting all employees and shoppers with right-wing Christian rhetoric, she was seen as a kook — not a person who was making threats that were credible. Was she menacing and harassing everyone in the store? Yes. But her act of social terrorism was excused despite the very real fact allowing her to frighten people by yelling at them, waving her book in the air as if she was going to brain someone with it, and telling everyone that they were going to burn in hell from buying products that support the Devil was not cause for social alarm by any Cluster B thinkers or law enforcement officials who elected to enable.

SEE: Woman storms through Target screaming “Are you going to let the Devil rape your children” while brandishing the Bible like a weapon

The terrorists who flew planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11 should have been considered a credible threat to society before they enacted harm. They should have had their personality types noted as being Dark Triad in behavior by both nature and nurture, meaning somewhere someone should have written down in a file readily viewable by law enforcement agencies around the globe noting their narcissistic sense of entitlement, their likely ASPD Psychopath tendencies, their inherent Sadism, and the truly socially malevolent depth of Machiavellianism.

The same thing goes for the neighbor who beats his wife in private then lies to friends, family, neighbors, police, and judicial officials. It’s even MORE important to take note of the woman’s entitlement nature who ran waving her bible through the aisles of Target while striving to curse, condemn, terrorize, and socially shame patrons of the corporate establishment.

While one is more overtly violent by nature (knocking down buildings with hijacked planes), it’s the covert predators among human society who cause all of their abuse targets to fear for their lives and personal safety. Whether threatening to make people too scared to come into a store and support a business, causing a person to be too fearful to live in their own home without curtains closed and behind aggressively safety locked windows and doors or making a person feel a massive level of anxiety and stress going outside of their home for fear a predator will show up wherever they are or is following them with the intent of doing them bodily or social harm, it’s all “credible threats”.

That’s the nature of the beast when it comes to dealing with Cluster B personality types, noting that typically the most violent subjects are Psychopaths by nature both biologically and created by social nurturing. Unable to control their impulses to a certain degree and harboring extreme vendetta agendas to enact revenge on people they feel have rejected or embarrassed them in some way, Narcissistic Abusers act with an extreme sense of entitlement when and if they engage in deliberate, willful acts of stalking, cyberbullying, menacing, harassing, physically accosting, or sexually aggressive their abuse victims in some aggrieved way.

Connect the Dots
Co-Parenting with a Narcissist or Dark Triad

SEE: What is ClusterB

Thanks to the 2016 elections controversies sparked by candidates like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, Homeland Security — working in conjunction with social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — are likely to have been able to amass and sort countless personality typecast profiles into groups. People who support the religious fanatics and show a social history of abusive psychology are likely to get a big red NPD flag on their name, while those who support Trump are likely to be noted as far more dangerous, potentially violent, hate speech promoting social terrorists.

Of the two groups (the extreme right-wing advocates and the “I stump for Trump” Narcopaths), both present a credible threat of harm to minority groups, people who do not agree with their political or social agendas, liberals (ranging from mild to wild), and any person who is either LGBT or has three-strand (rather than two-strand DNA) genetics.

But whether or not the harm Cluster B people supporting either group does will be legally addressed by the Supreme Court in the coming years remains to be seen. Right now, hate speech definitions allow many people to make menacing or threatening comments intended to frighten and harm or bully other people and be protected in great part by people who take freedom of speech to the letter — rather than spirit — of the law.

As Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse victims and advocates start breaking the silence more and more about how abuse or things like threatening or menacing hate speech has a direct impact on human health and quality of life, laws related to proving credible threats are likely to change. People who act like “Emotional Terrorists” are just that — socially deviant thinkers who are extremely dangerous.

As such, if the patterns are there that indicate a person who is stalking, harassing, or physically menacing you has a Cluster B personality disorder, resist the urge to minimize the very real impact their harmful or threatening behaviors have on your life. Unless a judge knows that as a result of being targeted by a person who makes credible threats of violence or who tries using tricks like blackmail or extortion to get what they want has caused YOUR entire life and health profile to change, they simply are not going to know.

Don’t suffer in silence about Narcissistic Abuse. If you do, the only person who benefits from your toxic level of shame or fear about coming forward in an effort to protect yourself and your loved ones is the malignant person who has zero conscience or remorse (most likely) about the 24 hour a day, 7 day per week, 365 day per year fear or extreme level of C-PTSD induced physical anxiety, gut-gnawing fear, and complex emotional terror they put into you.

SEE: Why victims who listen to narcissistic people develop C-PTSD

If a scary clown is threatening or stalking you, resist the urge to minimize the threats or impact of being threatened. It should absolutely be reported to law enforcement officials as well as in and around your community, as nothing more than a shaming and socially isolating mind game predators love playing with people who are emotionally sensitive and like to quietly endure countless years or acts of antagonism while blaming themselves for having been targeted for one of the most extreme and damaging forms of Narcissistic Abuse.

Plato's Stunt Double

DISCLOSURE: The author of this post is in no way offering professional advice or psychiatric counseling services. Please contact your local authorities IMMEDIATELY if you feel you are in danger. If you suspect your partner, a loved one, co-worker, or family member has a Cluster B personality disorder, contact your local victim's advocate or domestic violence shelter for more information about how to protect your rights legally and to discuss the potential benefits or dangers of electing to go "no contact" with your abuser(s). Due to the nature of this website's content, we prefer to keep our writer's names ANONYMOUS. Please contact directly to discuss content posted on this website, make special requests, or share your confidential story about Narcissistic Abuse with our staff writers. All correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.

Other Narcissistic Abuse recovery articles related to your search inquiry: