Growing up in abusive household makes it impossible for one to have healthy references to non-abusive behaviour. Living with one extremely abusive parent can make the other parent seem kind and good, even though they’re both abusive, the “less” abusive one will generally be seen as “innocent” and “not at fault for anything”, and will be defended by the child as the only one they could have actually counted on from time to time, they can’t see the less abusive parent as abusive at all because “at least they didn’t hit me” or “at least they didn’t hold everything against me”, there will be a lot of desire to save the good parent’s good image in their head, and gratitude for not being treated extremely bad by both parents, because in child’s mind this is also an option.
Generally if one parent isn’t abusive, they will demand for divorce and protect their child from the abusive parent, insisting on staying with abuser even though their child is paying the price is already abusive, putting your child’s well being beneath their personal desire for lifestyle or benefits their abuser is offering, or any feelings they might have for the abuser is sign of a selfish, neglectful and abusive parenting, but how could a child see this when they’re trapped between two parents and one is destructive, and the other less? The less abusive parent will be appreciated and glorified simply for failing to be more abusive than they already are, child wont have any reference to actual loving behaviour, less abusive is the best they ever had and they’ll happily settle for that, even question if they deserved that much.
Also a lot of abused children will insist that the less abusive parent didn’t know or realized how badly their child was treated, they’ll convince themselves they managed to hide all the abuse and pain they went through so the other parent isn’t at fault - this is wrong, any parent who pays a normal amount of attention to their child will notice, and even if they pay very little amount, there are very strong, very obvious signs and symptoms of being abused, they cannot be hidden or disguised as easily, a suffering child is obviously suffering, the less abusive parent chooses to ignore and neglect it on purpose, for their own benefit. Yes they probably did notice their child was suffering, they just did not care. If they stayed married, it’s most likely both of parents are abusive. Less abusive doesn’t equal caring, nurturing, loving and healthy parent. It’s hard to acknowledge you’ve never experienced a kind parent. But it will help you to stop equating “less abusive than extreme” to kind. It will help you hold abusive people accountable for their actions, and to see them abusive as they are. You’ve been taught wrong about what not-abusive is like. Not being cruel all the time is not a sign of kindness. Neglect and denial of your pain is not kindness. Sparing you pain they could have caused to you is not kindness. Making excuses for having you suffer is not kindness. Protecting you from anyone who would hurt you, making your safety a priority, your well being important in their life, your happiness something they’re willing to take action for, that is how caring and safe parenting would look like.