The extra dots you see in the password boxes in your profile have nothing to do with the actual number of characters in your password. A full line of dots are put there to hide the actual password.
If you are going to replace your password in your profile, be sure to erase all the dots first,including any that you may have to scroll sideways to see. If you miss removing a dot or two, you may have inadvertently included extra characters to will make your new password impossible to replicate to login.
The biggest issue we see with login is inaccurate entering of the password and user name. Uppercase and lowercase letters have to be exactly as they are registered. Even an extra blank space will cause failure.
Certain versions of Internet Explorer have login quirks that cause problems will some folks. We recommend using the Firefox browser for increased security and user friendliness:http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/switch.html
With changing passwords and having login problems, you may be having "cookie" problems. Cookies can help you login and keep you logged in, but when they retain wrong info, they can work against you. In that case, it would be advisable to delete current cookies and start fresh.
* Click on "My Stuff" and choose "Cookies" from the list.
* Click on the button to delete cookies.