Some really great replies here, thank you all.
We had our talk last night, and she was extremely receptive. She's got that deer in the headlights, humbled kind of demeanor to her as of the past week. Everything has come to a head and I can tell she's sort of in a state of shock, especially last night when I said very confidently "I think we should postpone the wedding". She responded with an "OMG NO!" kind of response, and acknowledged that if we postpone it, we aren't rescheduling it. She acknowledged that I was, in so many words, saying that I no longer wanted to marry her. I have to say, I have never seen a jolt of mental clarity pour over her as it did in that moment where we finally hit the absolute peak of this entire struggle. Her marriage was now in blatant jeopardy, it wasn't this far-fetched seemingly impossible outcome anymore, it was real, it was now, and it was in her lap. She now fully acknowledges that she has driven me to the point where I am outwardly ready and willing to leave her ass. She didn't cry, she didn't pout, I'm very proud of her for the way she has been handling this realization, but I still think she's in a sort of shock. I don't want her to feel like she needs to walk on egg shells, but at the same time, I'm glad she's finally seeming to understand the importance of why she needs to grow the hell up, and do it NOW. She told me that the other night in a slightly heated, emotional out-pouring of frustrations, she said I "broke down her ego and showed it to her in a way she's never seen it", and I believe it. She seems humbled in a way, but positively. I never thought standing there and borderline yelling at a person telling them each and every thing that's messed up about them, everything they're doing wrong, how they can be hard to deal with, how they've been making me feel awful for years, and how at this point life would be better without them in it, I never thought the person would come out on the other end of that feeling motivated, positive, and ready to make the changes. Not that it's news to me, but man, this woman must really, really respect me. And I made her say it 1000 times that she needs to make these changes FOR HER before anyone else, I will simply reap the benefits of it.
I can confidently say we're on a good track. I won't count my chickens just yet, but she came up with an idea. I don't know how I feel about it yet, but she said she is willing to go through with the WEDDING, but not sign the papers until I can feel confident in her. That way, if she just can't do it, then guess what, we never got married. I'm on the fence about this, but at least she's working with me. She has also acknowledged there's nothing else she can say to convince me of anything, and that her words hold little value due to her track record, and that only action will speak for her at this point. I mean, come on, I don't think I could have asked for her to take all of this any better. I feel good about it, would you?
To answer some questions:
I'm just trying to figure out why you would have tolerated, helped to create and foster in fact, a parent-child dynamic if it was something that always bothered you. Or, alternately, if there's someone you are now comparing her to. Someone that has perhaps has left you with a more recent "realization" that the dynamic that once made you feel manly and secure is now a huge problem that she needs to solve.
Now that I think about it, my father was always (and still is) the kind of man to desire full control and support of his kin, including my mother. She didn't work, so he paid for 100%, he built both of our houses basically from the ground up with his own hands, he will fix your car before you know there was a problem with it, he will buy you anything you need before you know you need it, etc.. I'm thankful that I learned from him on how to be super self-sufficient and how to take care of those dependent on me, because my brother and sister had the other outcome. They don't know how to tie their own shoes and will probably never take the initiative to learn. I never liked, wanted or accepted the handouts, and still don't. Now, when I met her, I already felt like I had the advantage because I already had a career, money, a place, a car, some life experience, some relationship experience, and a general willpower and belief in my own intelligence and abilities. So, needless to say, when I met this sweet 17 year old girl, new in town, was home schooled, no real experience, etc., I felt compelled to take care of her with the assumption that she would eventually learn to fly on her own, because that's how I was brought up, and that's exactly what I did when the time came. This is partially why I refused to move in with her until about 5 or 6 years into the relationship. So no, it wasn't because it made me feel manly, it was simply what I felt I should do, and I guess I didn't fully evaluate how I should throttle my coddling. Check yer Coddle Throttle (tm), you heard it here first.
Let me be crystal clear though, I never would have done any of this for her if I didn't feel like she was bringing something huge to my life. She was and still is my best friend in the entire world. She loves me enough to try and understand me, and I'll admit that I'm not your average cat, I confuse A LOT of people. I don't look how I act, I don't act how I think, and I don't think how I look. The fact that she understands me better than anyone in the world and not only gets it, but synergizes with it (mostly..) is worth its weight in gold to me. It's part of why I'm so frustrated because I know that if I give up on her, I'm going to have a hell of a time finding someone who is as good of a fit or better personality wise.
"Nice guy" is about the difference between someone who is genuinely kind and generous, and someone who only behaves nicely because they expect something in return.
Great analogy. Good to know I'm not a "nice guy", although I can tell some people assume I have an agenda. The fact is that my confidence stems from solid will power and knowledge that I don't need anything from anyone, so having an agenda or being nice to get something in return would be a disservice to myself and just a plain waste of time.
Here is an example of a natural consequence. Let's say she is responsible to pay her own cell phone bill. Let's say she overspends and the cell bill comes due and she does not pay it. She ignores it so that it is shut off. She comes to you, crying and saying she has no phone. NATURAL CONSEQUENCE would be "If you do not pay your bill, you lose the service. You are a responsible adult and I believe that you are able to take care of your responsibilities. Please handle this yourself." The end. See? You aren't punishing her more. You are allowing her to learn that every decision has a benefit and a cost. The benefit of overspending is the fun of getting the extra stuff!! The cost of overspending is no cell phone. So .... hmmm.... a couple times of this happening and you not jumping in to save her will result in her figuring out on her own that she'll lose her phone!!
This actually used to be the case, until I eventually got frustrated with the fact that her phone was constantly turned off and I would have a hellish time trying to coordinate with her, and the fact that if we combined cell phone plans it would cost the both of us significantly less money AND it would be affordable enough for her to keep her phone on AND we'd get new phones out of it (we had horrible POS flip phones at the time), AND I found an absolute killer deal with a new company, so going forward with that was a no-brainer. I don't think I ever had to pay her bill after that, but I'm not sure the lesson was learned.
I need to stop typing for now. Thank you all again for your replies.