So, I think I've failed to mention on here something very important:
All that soul-eating guilt and doubt that kept me up at night, gnawing on every bit of my flesh and brains: It's gone.
Not necessarily because I've moved into the anger phase. I'm sure I have. But then again, I've been there a lot over the years.
No, I think it has more two do with three things:
1. While the road ahead is still SO uncertain (especially custody) and will undoubtedly have incredibly hard times over and over, I know my girls and I can endure this. They've endured so much so far. And everything I swore would break Sunshine... well, it hasn't (Little Bit is still young enough to escape a lot of these difficulties). Sunshine still does not want to spend much time with her dad, specifically overnight. But she makes it through every day and is OK the next morning. Is it hurting her psyche? Maybe. But a great friend reminded me that children who go through struggles actually increase their EQ - Emotional Quotient. A perfect childhood with no bumps rarely turns into an adult who knows how to handle adversity. So, let's hope my girls learn from their current and future hardships and turn them into good, rather than bad.
2. Over the course of the last eight months since we separated officially, I have finally realized how mismatched ex and I are. And while I did a lot wrong in that relationship, he was just plain cruel in so many ways. No one deserves to be treated the way he treated me, and even worse: To be treated that way while being told that he loves you. Love can not possibly be like that. I deserve to be treated like I actually matter and like I'm a priority. Not the most important person in the world ... but like you genuinely appreciate me and want me to be happy. That was never the case before.
3. I am happy with myself. Ex did a great job of destroying my confidence. And I wasn't loaded with it to begin with. No outfit was ever cute enough. My lipstick never red enough. My heels never high enough. My shirt never sexy enough. My hair pulled up? No, I looked "severe." But guess what? I don't need his approval, and I don't have to look like every other blonde 25-year-old to look hot. I am me. I love getting dressed up to look nice for a man, but not if there's constant criticism involved. If you don't like me for ME, then move it along.