I can't thank you enough for this advice.
Status update: Since your advice, I have become very comfortable with bar chords which was my pain point because of the lack of hand strength and flexibility in the wrist. (Proves that practice was much needed as I now can twist my wrist and forearm enough and experience no pain or discomfort).
I switched from acoustic to electric guitar for a while when my brother gave me a beautiful PRS SE-245 with Seymour Duncan picups already installed which blew my mind away with the sound coming through my Fender Deluxe VM.
With the experience and practice gained through playing things on my electric, I was able to switch back to acoustic and apply all that I learned on the electric with minimal adjustments to suit the difference in neck size and string spacing.
I hear ya on the pinky independance. Funny thing is my right hand pinky can do all things on it's own. My brother which has been playing for like a gazillion years also does not have the pinky independence that I thought was natural to most folks. HAHA!
Anyway, I'd like to thank you for your advice and encourage others that may be faced with the same issues to not give up. Practice, practice, practice. Man does it pay off. When I compare where I was just a few short months ago to now, I am a completely different guitar player and the sound is soooooooo much better and cleaner. Also, you may want to try video recording yourself. Get out your iPhones or whatever means you have to record and get recording yourself for playback later. Trust me, you will spot your mistakes quickly and can make adjustments to your style and form of playing. It's working for me, a person who first picked up a guitar at age 41 (now 42 :-D). It can work for you too.