Learned Chaos Syndrome

A woman juggling the many needs and concerns in her life

As an avid student of human nature, I have this tendency to create neologisms and coin phrases to describe human behavior. Since most of my experience lies in the realm of lesbian behavior, they usually apply to that segment of society – but I have found that the behaviors are often applicable to heterosexuals as well. Here, I will describe one of the theories I’ve developed about certain lesbians that also applies to certain heterosexual women and a particular type of baggage they bring to relationships: Learned Chaos Syndrome (LCS).

Some women have so much going on in their lives that they have no time to develop primary romantic partnerships, yet they allow relationship chaos and drama to control their lives. They are often drawn to others who have similar issues. Perhaps these women have to be needed by a group of other damaged people who won’t judge them harshly; perhaps it’s a way of filling a void that existed in childhood; or maybe they are attempting to recreate and control a series of life events. But ultimately, I think it’s because they have become so accustomed to chaos, that they remain in it – because it’s familiar, and it’s easier in the short-term to deal with something familiar than with something new. Frequently, this pattern manifests in other life areas and a woman might see chaos where none exists. This leads to creating demons where there are none and this can result in irreconcilable conflicts with the peripheral people in her environment.

At other times, these LCS women will be seduced by those who are stable, peaceful and relaxed. This indicates a need to live vicariously through someone else who exists without chaos, and a yearning to somehow heal the chaos in their own lives through another person. In my opinion, stable women hook up with unstable ones, not because the stable ones make poor choices, but because the unstable women need and want something that the stable women have to offer. It usually takes some time before the challenges in a relationship emerge so that these discrepancies are obvious, especially if the relationship time together is limited.

The question of whether or not these women recognize this Learned Chaos Syndrome is one we can only answer if there is enough data and research on the topic. But largely, I think everyone has the potential to recognize and alter anything about themselves if they so choose, barring organic brain damage, brain injury, or mental illness.

Often, most of us recognize our destructive patterns through hindsight, which allows us both distance and clarity. But if a woman is so overloaded with responsibilities and worries and problems to solve at every turn, there is little attention left to assess what the antecedent of her chaos might be. It might be as simple as her tendency to take on more than is possible. Thus the pattern repeats until something changes.

Until these LCS women recognize that they are not going to be free of chaos until they remove it purposefully, deliberately, and with great discernment from their lives, they will never truly have the things they seek (peace, stability, etc.).

We cannot force someone we would like to be with to make changes in her level of chaos so that we can have a balanced, healthy relationship with time to develop ourselves as a couple. That falls under the LCS woman’s responsibility. When met with a situation in which moments together have to be stolen instead of made a priority, we are caught in this web of chaos with little hope of escape. It is wise to remember that we first have to please ourselves; otherwise, we will resent it when others can’t be what we want and need.

If someone’s chaos prevents her from having time for you, you’re better off bowing out and keeping your options open. If you are dealing with someone who exhibits Learned Chaos Syndrome, one thing is certain: You should never allow yourself to be the comma in the sentence of someone’s life.

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