20 years ago, after having my heart ripped out, stomped on and shredded, I had a brief fling with one of my university colleagues. Really brief, I mean I was on the rebound, and no one could really take away all that hurt except time. Anyway, Chris and I had a couple romps in the hay and then I lost interest. I didn't really consider us to be "together" so I didn't see any reason to "break up". I just stopped answering the phone. He left me a dozen or so messages, each one more aggravated and needy than the previous. This didn't endear him to me and so we never spoke again.
Until. Several years later, I was at an AA meeting and Chris spotted me and accosted me. He was clearly agitated even as I was having difficulty placing him. He told me that after our fling, he started a downward spiral into drugs and alcohol that led him to rock bottom and that it was only now that he was on the road to recovery. Without outright saying it, I could tell that he blamed me and my (in)actions.
Last year, when I went back to California and stopped in to see my buddies at the old place I used to work, a young hispanic man approached me and exclaimed, "Tornwordo!" and proceeded to embrace me as though we were long lost friends. I had no recollection whatsoever of this man though it was clear I had made some kind of impact on him. I feigned recognition and he asked me how Montreal was and then he said, " I'm so glad I have the chance to thank you. When you hired me, you told me something that I will never forget." This did not jog any of my memory, but I was certainly curious. "What?" I asked. "You told me that if you were going to believe in me and give me a chance at this job that I had to believe in myself too. You said you never wanted to hear me say, 'I can't'" He went on to tell me how he had moved up the ladder from busboy to server and then to manager. He was positively beaming with gratitude and confidence.
So. It does not matter if we are aware of our actions and words just as it does not matter if you are unaware of the law you just broke. Consequences occur despite your awareness or lack thereof.