I know that forgiveness is not the same in Judaism as it is Christianity, however I frequently have people telling me I should forgive things that I will always regret it if I don’t, the people telling me this are usually secular Christians. I was raised kind of apathetically Reform by parents who don’t really like religion but I guess must have felt pressured that my siblings and I should have bar mitzvahs, we had little religious life at home, so my exposure was mostly at Sunday school at the Reform temple.
The context of the wondering about forgiveness is that my parents were neglectful and abusive and that damaged me in ways that still strongly affect me many years later. Neither has ever apologized or admitted any wrong doing. I do not have much contact with either of them, I actively avoid it, but there is not actual estrangement as I don’t want to screw up family dynamics with other family members. Having met my grandparents I can understand that my parents probably also had abusive childhoods and so I have some empathy, but I also don’t think that in any way excuses their behavior. When I’ve tried to talk to them about this they say they did their best, but if that was their best they should not have had children. Their abuse still occurs occasionally, but mostly in subtle ways that are difficult for others to recognize.
I am in therapy and I struggle with wanting to have children but being terrified I’ll repeat the cycle of abuse, if I ever did have children I don’t think I would want to expose them to my parents, and that would be difficult because given the family dynamics it would likely result in estrangement from the entire family, not just my parents.
I have a therapeutic perspective on this, and I have the perspectives of the people who push the forgiveness angle, but I would really like to learn about the Jewish perspective on this.