To what extent are we responsible for the trauma we inflict on others?

To what extent are you responsible for the trauma you inflict on others?

Inarguable examples abound; the sexual assaulter surely is to blame directly, morally, consequentially, and knowingly. A murderer is morally to blame for the grief inflicted on the whole family even if only one of them was actually murdered.

However, a person who ends their own life can inflict that same grief among their own family. An innocent action at the grocery store could remind someone of some extreme trauma experienced as a child. Are substandard parents to blame for their children’s misfortunes resulting from that substandardness?

What does it even mean to “take responsibility” for something? Acknowledging it and admitting it, surely. But sometimes restitution is in order, and we don’t really have “emotional restitution” as a species. (I think we call that drugs.)

Emotional betterment requires knowledge, humility, understanding, and a willingness to acknowledge that you were wrong about something. It feels like that sentiment has always been in short supply throughout humanity’s existence.