The really big problem we have isn't so much to do with the characteristics of the ego. The big problem that we've confused who we are with it. Our sense of 'self' has become caught up in it. Our identity has been redefined by it. We actually believe that IT is who we are.
This is where we run into all manner of problems, and again, not even touching on the ego's death wish or all of its lies and deceptions, just the mere FACT of you having 'attached your self' to the ego presents major issues.
So just to clarify, there is YOU, and then there are two thought systems. There is the entire ego and its thought system, and then there is Holy Spirit and His thought system. YOU are either identified with and absorbed in one or the other. You, as the 'decision maker', float back and forth between them, but spend most of your time in ego land.
So who 'you' are, is really actually a combination of TWO things, your 'self', and either God or the ego. When you are identified with the ego, you THINK that you are 'one identity', but in fact you are two identities. You+ego. It's either that, or you+God. In God you actually can become ONE, but with the ego, you are always still separate and split and confused about who you really are, because you can't be fully one with the ego.
The problem now is, that you will try to become more spiritual. Now this alone leads to hellish problems. You will be holding on tight to the ego, while at the same time, attempting to become spiritual or to move in the direction of spirit. This is a major issue because your sense of identity is still very tied to the ego, so any efforts you make you 'stop being ego', will be experienced by the 'you' that is identified with the ego, as 'you attacking yourself'. The part of you tied to it will resist the truth, will not want to wake up, will retaliate and attempt to protect itself from the truth that the other part of you is exposing yourself to, and you will terrorize yourself!
What this also leads to is another major issue. Attempting to become spiritual WITHOUT dis-identifying from the ego, will cause you to attempt to bring the ego along WITH you in that transformation. You will try to make IT be more spiritual, because you think it is who you are. You'll attempt to transform the ego self, to pull the ego self into a new kind of thought system that it completely rejects and is incompatible with. It will resist strongly and it will not be able to stay there. So while you stay identified with the ego, you will constantly be pulled back into the ego after any endeavor to reach the light of truth. You will open up a little bit to truth, then the ego will act like a bungie cord, pulling you back down to its 'level' of consciousness.
So basically you have a major identity crisis. Who you think you are is so attached to the ego and its thoughts, that whenever you try to wake up, you think that you're being attacked. And really you are. If you are going to hold onto the ego while simultaneously trying to become more truthful/honest, you are going to SUFFER. You will spiritualize the ego. You will experience constant ego 'rebounds', which really is the ego-attached you pulling YOURSELF back to the ego that you trust, as if it is yourself. 'You', who think you are the ego, do NOT want to wake up, because the ego doesn't, and cannot.
This is basically the issue of what you are experiencing on 'level 1', which is the ego's level. Your identification WITH everything happening on level 1 ie ego thought system, attaches you to it. If you want to get OUT of the ego's thought system, and get to level 2 (Holy Spirit), it is going to be IMPOSSIBLE for you to make any lasting progress unless you are willing to LET GO OF THE EGO. Transforming the ego will not work because it cannot be turned into holiness. Leaping high in the air trying to grab the fruits of truth will only gravitate you crashing back to the ground again. The ego can't come with you to heaven.
So to really make progress here, you are going to have to realize, at some point, you have to stop all of your efforts to make your ego-identified self be spiritual. You, who YOU REALLY are, is already capable of 'being spiritual' IF you will attach to the Holy Spirit. You only need to let go of the ego's 'hand' and hold the Holy Spirit's 'hand', and hey-presto, you will SHARE the thought system of spirituality. You will enter into it. You will experience it. And your sharing of it will identify you with it and make it yours - not exclusively yours but still yours.
In essence you 'need do nothing' in order to qualify for entry to the 'spiritual universe'. YOU, who you really are, cannot change, because YOU are immortal spirit. You, as immortal spirit, have gotten lost in thinking you and the ego are the same self. That is all. You only need to be willing to SURRENDER the ego, let go of the ego, dis-identify from the ego, drop the ego, stop believing you are the ego, and remember who you really are (in Holy Spirit's mind), and you're done. All you're doing is getting divorced from the ego and marrying Holy Spirit, and along with that your whole sense of 'self' will change, away from the confusion of 'I am a separate ego' to 'I am shared immortal holy spirit'.
So really, YOU do not change at all. You just leave and surrender a mind that you thought was you, realizing YOU continue on without it and that you are NOT it, and enter into (return to) a mind based on God's mind where you have a whole different identity to associate with. This has little to do with who or what you 'are', and more to do with 'who you are with'. When you are with the ego, you think you're it. When you're with God, you tune into your real identity as His Creation.
You are free to leave the ego at any time. Nothing is keeping you in it but your decision to stay. There is another option and the ego is not your Self.