I once saw a meme that basically said to forgive your parents no matter what they have done to you. They were wounded from their childhood & didn’t know what they were doing to you because of that. It’s up to you to break the cycle.
I’ve noticed this mentality is pretty common, & not always with parents. It can be said with an abusive spouse who was raised watching one parent abuse the other. It also can be said of the mother in-law mistreats her daughter in-law. Her mother in-law wasn’t good to her so clearly she must not know how to be a good mother in-law.
The problem with this is this is nothing more than an excuse. It’s an apologist stand in favor of abusive people. It is so wrong!
While yes, people whose parents abused them may not know how to be a good parent, but they at least know what not to do. Those parents know that certain things a parent can do to a child hurt the child, because their parents did those things to them. As a result, they shouldn’t do those same things to their children.
Many people who survive abuse in some way stop the cycle. They recognize the behaviors they were subjected to were bad, so they don’t repeat the behaviors. They try not to be like their abusers. They probably will make mistakes but they recognize they did things wrong & change their behavior accordingly. They also don’t act out of maliciousness. People like this deserve mercy & understanding because at least they are trying.
There are others who aren’t so worthy of understanding.
A parent who can watch their child cry because of something they have said or done without emotion & makes no changes to avoid hurting their child again is not innocent.
A parent who regularly criticizes their child, even to the point of brining the child to tears or causing that child to feel shame while offering no assistance in improving the problem being criticized is not making innocent mistakes. That is someone who enjoys deliberately hurting their child.
A parent who laughs at their child or is obviously disgusted with this child also is someone who enjoys deliberately hurting their child by destroying their self esteem.
A parent who keeps their child from relationships with safe people is not protecting their child, nor are they innocent. They are deliberately isolating their child so they can abuse that child.
A parent who controls their child & makes that child into what they want the child to be rather than allow the child to be the person God made them to be isn’t innocent either. They are abusive.
While I do agree it is best to forgive abusers in the sense of releasing abusers from you having any expectation of making things up to their victims, I firmly believe that forgiving & forgetting abusive people because “they just don’t know better” when their actions say otherwise is a foolish move. Doing so only allows abusers to continue to abuse without consequences. That isn’t good for victims, because it means they will tolerate so much suffering. It also isn’t good for abusers either, because it means they will continue in their unhealthy, abusive & even sinful behavior rather than having any chance to improve themselves.