Our expert says:
Only someone who knows him well would have a good chance of knowing whether this is a figure of speech ( does he often talk in such dramatic and alarming terms ? ) or possibly a genuine threat. It's worrying and a bit risky to assume that all such threats are NOT serious - just often enough they are, such that we really need to take them seriously.
If he saw a skilled shrink, they could assess the situation more acurately.
He does sound childish and petulant, though it is hard to face a return to being dependent due to retrenchment, if you have enjoyed independence ( of course, not everyone does enjoy independence ).
Is it practical to talk this very reasonable concern over with him calmnly at a time he's not in the midst of a trnatrum or storm, and mention that he has made such threats, which he should expect people to take seriously, even if he doesn't specifically mean it. It was probably an expression of hos frustrated he feels, especially as he should recognize that not only would such an act, even of an attack they survive, would land him in an awful jail for life, and end any possibility of anyone helping to support him. explore whether he might consider seeing a counsellor to work on his frustration and his plans for returning to a more independent life style.
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