Fear of Crosses or the Crucifix

During the Easter holiday Christians will speak reverently of the cross and the symbolism of sacrifice. In the time of Roman occupation of Jerusalem crucifixion was a the most despicable way to die. Perhaps that’s why some fear the cross.  This fear is known as Staurophobia.

While the cross is a symbol of suffering and death it is also a symbol of hope to Christians. This is often difficult for many to understand, but the belief extends to a mechanism of salvation to those who follow the faith of Christianity.

What Causes Staurophobia?

This fear may be caused by the belief that it is possible the Christian faith is barbaric or that by following the faith it could result in a similar fate. There may also be a fear that there is some undefined and uncontrolled power associated with a crucifix. The fear may be linked to a fear of any organized religious sect.

This fear causes the phobic personality to consider the possibility there is a higher power than themselves. Since that power may be unseen the end result may be mild to profound fear.

Some may fear the crucifix as a result of bad memories associated with religion when they were younger. There have been cases in which men and women who committed horrific acts as a representative of their faith. This can contribute greatly to the fear.

It is also possible that the fear was observed in a family member growing up and the fear is embraced as an extension of the relationship you have with the one who fears.

Symptoms of Staurophobia

cross 2An individual who has this fear may physically run from the presence of a cross or crucifix. The site of the object may take them to a time and place that is uncomfortable and may even trigger symptoms of post traumatic stress.

Other symptoms may include…

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Air hunger
  • Panic attack
  • Feeling faint
  • Loss of control
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Crying
  • Screaming
  • Nausea

In many cases the fear may be undefined and virtually impossible to explain to others. However,  in some cases the fear has an origin that is remembered and often relived whenever a crucifix is noticed.

How to Overcome Staurophobia

This fear may require therapy and a willingness to forgive. This is in reference to any past events in which religion caused you physical or emotional trauma. This can be difficult to get past, but essential to embracing a healthy and productive future.

It may sound odd to say that there might be a need to forgive those who have inflicted pain in the name of religion. However, the truth is pain is a byproduct of both willful and unplanned action. The men and women who may have hurt you were not likely acting with the interests of their faith when they lashed out.  This is an important concept because many wish to believe that faith is bad because people have been hurt. However, hurt comes in all shapes and sizes and is not the exclusive property of religion.

Getting help to deal with your fears and learning how they connect to a faith perspective can be critical to learning more about how you fit with both.

The fear of crosses or the crucifix is also referred to as:

  • Cross fear
  • Crucifix fear
  • Staurophobia
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