I read a great book called, “Why am I afraid to tell you who I really am?” It was written by a Jesuit. He discusses how the ego is a false self that we put forth to avoid rejection. For example: Say, we are really very compassionate, we cry easily, we are extremely dependent and need a lot of help. Rather than expose your real self, you pretend that you don’t care, laugh when you really want to cry, and try to do everything yourself. It can also work the other way, you are very talented, a genius, you have abilities that most people don’t but you fear that if people knew they would envy you and reject you. Most of the ego develops from some experience of rejection. See, if you put forth a “false self” then when someone rejects you, it doesn’t hurt because it is not the “real self.” See, the genuine self cannot be changed, only accepted. Intimacy is the desire of every human heart, to know and to be known, to love and to be loved. So to show forth your “real self” and be rejected translates into NOT being loved or lovable.
Becoming the most genuine self involves risking rejection and suffering hurts. The journey of the soul to union is one of being your genuine self. We cannot be in relationship with God if we give Him a false self, for it is not a REAL relationship. We can only find union with God through our genuine self that we are so afraid to reveal (sometimes even to ourselves. Sometimes it is we who reject ourselves, we want to be “more” than what we are because we think we are not lovable the way we are.). In every case, the ego is a result of a wound. Ego’s are hyper-developed in people who have been abused, used, or rejected. Take for example a child who is sexually abused at a young age and he develops multiple personalities. The multiple personalities protect him from being rejected because beneath all the personalities is a little boy who is ashamed, feeling worthless, unvalued, and unloved," Who will love a dirty kid like me?’ or even worse, if I expose who I really am, someone might abuse me again, they might desire me and use me. So they hide themselves beneath a multitude of false personalities.
I think it helps to know the ego’s function, that it is protection. The reason the ego is such a problem in our relationship with God is that we don’t need to protect ourselves from Him, rather rely on His protection. Can you see how it is a barrier to a relationship with God to be always protecting yourself?
Attachments are those things we hold onto to create our false identities. There the things that tells us we are “lovable” because we have them. This is why they need to go. To be our genuine self we can only find our worth and value through our identity with Our Heavenly Father. The identity that we are “sons of God,” worth every sacrifice, the sacrifice of the cross.