What To Do When Someone Is Threatening You

Why do dogs bark? Because they are afraid.

I recently had a client who was getting a lot of threats from an angry customer. The client had gone way overboard on the project, being ‘too’ nice and doing extra work he wasn’t paid to do, and neglected to tell his customer about it, the customer got spoiled and wanted more for less; my client got resentful and the project went south for both parties, one threatened the other then threats were made back and forth and it got way out of hand.

My clients customer started making threats via email and text to him and it reminded of a story I had been taught when I was a kid.

Why Dogs Bark When They Are Afraid

When I was in high school there was a kid much bigger than me angry at me because we both liked the same girl. This guy was so mad he pushed my books down out of my hands and all the kids in the hall made a circle around us. The other guy was trembling mad, it was over-the-top unnecessary in my mind. His body was trembling with anger and his fists were clenched and even though I was in fact scared, I stayed calm and stood there. Then the history teacher, Mr. Pearson.. came and separated us before any fighting began and he took me aside and told me a really good life lesson that I never forgot.

I told him that guy has been threatening me for days. He said, “Dogs bark because they are afraid. Anyone who makes a threat almost always never carries it out. In fact, you can almost be sure that if someone does make a threat, there is no threat.” He said “It’s the dogs who sit there quietly waiting for you to get close are the ones you should be afraid of. The dogs you should be afraid of are the ones who sit there quietly and whine, because they WANT to eat you.”

People who want to hurt you, will let you know. People who PLAN on hurting you, aren’t going to let you know. It’s the one’s who AREN’T saying anything, that you need to be afraid of.

I once had a stalker who was sending me crazy threats via email. Even the police told me the same thing. People who make threats very rarely follow through, they said the best thing to do was ignore it, they were right.

The Only Way To Win Is To Walk Away

People who make threats NEED a response. That is what they are after. They want for you to be afraid, it helps justify their emotional need to be heard. By responding to a threat, you give the attacker exactly what they want and need. Even a positive response is fuel for the fire. Responding to a threat with another threat is probably the worst thing you can do. Responding to it in any way is still just adding to the fire.

The only way to escape being threatened is to ignore it and walk away. It’s the hardest thing to do but it’s the smartest thing to do.