Actually, this "atoning thing" on Yom Kippur can be very cathartic on many levels! Let me tell you a true story:
I once met a middle-aged lady at a Messianic conference who confided that during her childhood, she had been sexually abused by her older brother, which had "ruined her life" to a certain extent. She said she hadn't seen nor spoken to him in decades; but that she "just couldn't get past the anguish" of those days.
I told her that I could totally relate, as I had been a sexually abused baby, child and teenager, and that all my abusers had died in the meantime, which meant there was no way to confront them anymore. However, I had forgiven them all in my heart. (Not forgotten, because you can’t “forget” something like that; but you CAN hand it over to God and ask HIM to help you deal with it, whenever the Adversary attempts to remind you….)
Anyway, this lady’s abuser was still alive and she knew his address, and so SHE still had a chance to do confront him. And so I gently reminded her that she needed to do that because God can’t use “broken vessels” who CHOOSE to cling to the baggage of their past, constantly dragging it behind them like a pet on a leash.
To help her drop that baggage and break the “emotional bonds” that were holding her captive, I suggested she write her brother a letter outlining the anguish he had caused. (Not a phone call that could lead to a war or words, but a simple letter designed to make her feel empowered by allowing her to "have the last word.")
I told her to remain calm and courteous, and “be the adult” by simply outlining what his actions had done to her psyche, and how much he had hurt her … adding that she has forgiven him in her heart, AND that she fully intended to consider those emotional ties SEVERED as soon she dropped the letter into the closest mailbox!
Her question to me, of course, was, “What happens if he writes back a nasty response of some kind – something that rip open those old wounds and hurt me all over again?”
“If he does that,” I replied with conviction, “toss his letter into a fire-proof container of some kind, and set it on fire, and then watch it burn to crisp, while asking ADONAI to help you continue to heal and forgive, and to take this awful burden from you.”
Well, there was a happy ending to this story!
The lady sent me an email a couple weeks later to let me know that she had written that letter to her brother - and that they had reconciled! She related that, as soon as he had received her letter, he had called her, crying and begging her forgiveness, telling her he agreed that it had all been his fault, and that he, too, had been anguished all his life over what he had done! The only reason he hadn't contacted her was because he was convinced she would never forgive him....
…So, you see, reconciliation CAN happen, IF both parties “come clean” and honestly bare their feelings.
But if they don’t, or there’s no way to contact the person you hurt, or who hurt you – then simply forgive them AND yourself, and ask Abba to take it this burden away, because it’s from Adversary whose goal is to get YOU to concentrate on anything else EXCEPT YHWH/Yeshua/Torah!
Don’t give the Adversary that kind of power - ever again!
Remember: “Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world!” (1 John 4:4)