Sound like you should inspect the Keep Options for the Paragraph Styles involved.
(for instance page 7 will suddenly turn into a blank page and my text will move itself down while design elements such as chapter headings will stay in the place where I put them, but then be completely out of place according to where the text is now)
It may be there's Keep Options applied to paragraph style.
Deleting them just causes the layout to become mis-aligned even worse, and just re-adds the blank page I attempted to delete
Are you turn on smart text reflow on the indesign preference>type.
As the previous replies suggest, Keep Options is a likely reason, but I'd also check as to whether or not you used the wrong Enter key at some point and have a frame break or column break, when what you really want is a paragraph break. Go to the Text menu and select Show Hidden Characters and look for either this:
…for a column break, or this:
…for a frame break. The Enter key in the 10-key pad will give you a column break, and if you use it while holding the Shift key, it will give you a frame break. The other Enter key (sometimes labeled "Return" on some keyboards) will give you a paragraph return (or a line break, if you hold the Shift key).
Thank you Migintosh!
I think you got it. I have to look through and make sure. The keep options was my first culprit, but it turned out that they were all turned off.