Ego: Good or Bad?

A common effect of narcissistic conditioning is believing that "ego" is bad. Not everyone gets affected in this way, but many do.
"Ego" is simply a kind of energetic version of our "skin" and our "self", connected with our boundaries. It can be healthy or unhealthy, but it's just a part of how we're made. Those with serious control issues will often send the message in various ways, over and over, that a target's ego is bad, that it's "inflated", that the target is arrogant/stuck-up/aggressive and has too much ego. However, this is the kind of thing that one might say to an actual control-freak who is wreaking havoc and creating serious problems, not a message one sends to a child, or to a loved one. Even if a child WAS displaying "inflated ego" issues (although it's usually just childhood confidence and boundary development misconstrued by adults), the remedy is more guidance, not disparagement.
When a person is targeted to strip them of their ego, they are being violated, and when a person is targeted for conditioning so that they believe their own ego is "bad", like a disease or a deformity, that's brainwashing and abuse.
Controllers of course want targets to be ego-less, because they can control and violate them much more easily. There's no barrier. Also, without ego, we tend to "let ourselves go", meaning we don't focus on keeping ourselves "shiny", so other people don't notice us as much, are less attracted, and so we receive less attention, and therefore less support, automatically.
The definition of the word "ego" has been skewed by popular culture in a way that implies automatic negativity, but it's not, it's just a part of being a human being. We're supposed to have an ego. It doesn't make us good or bad.
Narcissists channel their energy and focus into their ego and image, but not their character underneath. When one channels energy into one's real life, self, relationship with others, and learning, with humility, one's ego develops along with healthy boundaries. Anyone's ego can become inflated, but that's just something that happens to us as humans, we learn and we grow, and our ego becomes healthier.
Like M&M's, in a simplistic way: The candy shell as the ego is supposed to be there, without it the chocolate is vulnerable and melts easily; you can't just carry them around, they would get squished. But the core of the candy is the chocolate. Without that, it's just an empty shell. The M&M is a piece of chocolate, first, and around that chocolate is the candy shell. So without the shell it's still an M&M, but it's vulnerable.
If M&M's did not put chocolate inside those candy shells, and put all of their energy into only the shells, maybe made them flourescent or added sparkles, we would still see them as really neato M&M's, but we would have no idea there was no chocolate inside. Until we bought them, brought them home, and started eating them.
So what's "wrong" is when the ego is the thing that the person is putting all of their energy and focus into, not when the ego is present and exists. A healthy ego, like the shell of an M&M, doesn't DO anything negative to anyone else, it protects what's inside, makes it okay to travel around, and it likes to keep itself "up", clean, colorful, and shiny. With a clear "m" stamp ~ it's okay to be happy about that, and it's healthy; we're SUPPOSED TO maintain ourselves and let that be part of our confidence. When the ego and shell becomes our focal point to where we ignore and forget about what's inside, then it's unhealthy.
But the shell on the M&M, and the ego on a human, is perfectly healthy, it's supposed to be there, and it's important to keep it healthy.