Never settle for less than you deserve again. Never ever let someone else define you. Do not hide inside a relationship to avoid the pains of your past. Be present each and every moment of your life now.
Ya know, it's funny you should talk about layers. I thought of that as well when I was trying to explain my current state of mind. I had a shield up of anger, unhappiness, selfishness and one by one they peeled away. When they were all gone there was the raw me and I realized just what I wanted in life. The kicker here is that it was too late to do anything about it. But still yet, the positive side of it all is that I actually got rid of the armour and found myself again no matter how painful, it will eventually get better.