Comfort In Chaos

When a person grows up surrounded by chaos, that person often ends up comfortable with chaos.  Knowing nothing else such as peace & calm, those things feel foreign & even scary.   There can be comfort in the midst of chaos simply because it is what you know, it is what is familiar.

Some people who have grown up abused even create their own chaos & drama without realizing it simply because they can’t stand peace & quiet.  Even if they hate such stressful situations, the familiarity of them provides a degree of comfort.

Most people gravitate to the familiar, even when it is painful or dysfunctional.  This is why a woman who grew up beaten by her drunken father later marries a man who gets drunk & beats her.  She doesn’t like being beaten- it’s simply familiar to her & she naturally gravitated to it.

Other people grew up being the “fixers” in their family.  They were the ones who calmed down their parents when they were fighting or denied the fact their parents were abusive if anyone questioned them.  They kept their dysfunctional parents happy at all personal costs.  Being the family fixer means these people feel they have no real purpose unless they are able to fix things.  They are comfortable with chaos because it means they have a job to do, & it’s a job they know how to do well.

As dysfunctional as this behavior is, there is hope.  The healthier you get & the more you heal from the abuse, the less comfortable you will feel with chaos.  It will happen naturally.  I’m not sure there is a way to address this issue specifically.  I’ve just noticed that it seems to diminish on its own as a person gets healthier.  So take care of yourself.  Address whatever issues you have as they come up.  Pray, ask God to help you to get to the root of the problem so you can deal with it the most effectively.  In time, you’ll notice you become more uncomfortable with chaos & much more comfortable with the peace that you deserve.


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

4 responses to “Comfort In Chaos

  1. I believe it was Freud who first called the behavior you are describing “repetition compulsion.” His theory was that we gravitate toward unhealthy relationships that are similar to the unhealthy childhood home we grew up in, because we are unconsciously trying to resolve, or fix, whatever was broken in our childhood home.

    But I disagree with Freud. I believe that the driving force behind this behavior is simply what you are saying here, Cynthia: this is what we are used to. When a relationship mirrors the way we grew up, it feels familiar. It feels like home. Even when home was a terrifying place to be.

    A study I read about that was done with rats appears to bear this theory out. In the study, half of the rats were born and raised in the perfect rat environment. These rats had plenty of food, plenty of water, comfort, safety — whatever makes a rat healthy and secure, these rats it. But the comparison group of rats were raised in chaos, in an environment where there was never enough food, no safety, no certainty. Whatever makes rats miserable, short of outright killing them, that was what they got.

    After all of the rats were fully grown, they were moved to an entirely different place. Here, they were given the choice of which environment they wanted to live in. In this new place, there was an easily accessible area that was, once again, rat perfect. There was also another area that mimicked the miserable, uncomfortable, and dangerous environment.

    Being unrestricted and free to choose between the two, you would expect that all of the rats would run to rat paradise, wouldn’t you? Surely no rat in his (or her) right mind would voluntarily choose to live in rat hell!

    But this is what happened, according to what I read: the rats that were raised in the perfect environment, all chose to live in rat paradise. But the rats that grew up miserable and uncomfortable — always either too hot or too cold, starved, subjected to very bright lights and extremely loud noises — those rats chose to live in the chaotic, miserable, dangerous environment. Even when rat paradise was right around the corner and easily accessible.

    I believe this explains pretty much everything about my previous rat-like existence, lol! Until I finally got help for my PTSD, I went from one relationship with an unloving abusive narcissist, to another, and another, and another. Like my daughter told me when I was going through my last divorce in the year 2000: “Mom, I know there are always more fish in the sea. But you are fishing in a toxic pond!” And she was right.

    Thank God in heaven that I am finally free of relationship toxicity, and have been for almost 15 years!

    Please say a little prayer for me if you will, Cynthia. I saw a surgeon yesterday and he told me that I have skin cancer. My surgery is scheduled for December 6. I just went and had my pre-op blood work and ecg.

    Thank you for another right on blog post. God bless and Happy Turkey Day!


    • I didn’t realize Freud had that theory. Interesting.. I need to read about it. I’m curious now.

      That is fascinating about the rats. It makes a lot of sense to me. Sad as it is. People love the familiar, even when they hate it, just like the rats in this scenario.

      Thank God indeed for freeing you from toxic relationships!!

      You have my prayers! Share updates when you can please? Big hugs to you!

      Thank you! God bless you too & have a great Thanksgiving!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: When We Grow Up in Chaos, We Often Chose Chaotic Relationships as Adults – A Blog About Living With Complex PTSD

  3. Pingback: Childhood Has Lessons For All of Us – Emotional Sobriety Means Healing Mind, Body, and Soul

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