Ego, the mind’s construct of the self, is also the mind’s reference point in assessing threats.
The ego usually is composed of our physical body and also of conceptual characteristics.
So even when the conceptual aspect of the ego is under threat, the mind still responds by mobilizing the physical body.
That is why when someone laughs at you stupid, you might react with anger.
There is no physical threat; your life is not in danger. But your mind can’t distinguish it. It activates the fight-flight response. Because the reference point is ego.
A good way of dispelling the ego is through the zen style of awakening – venturing through the gate of ego and discovering that its original nature is ’empty’.