A month or so ago, a close friend said he viewed ceremonial magick as a form of masochism. Recently, someone here reminded me of scrupolosity. If you haven't heard of that danger, click on the link.
I believe these terms are tossed about when strict self-analysis is observed from without. To be true, some may be a bit masochistic. I don't think I am. I don't like exposing my own flaws and trials. It can be painful, hard on the psyche and down right embarrassing. I remember telling Lon DuQuette that I hated reading old diaries because it is so embarrassing to look back and see who I was. He told me he writes in his diary every day and reads the previous entry each day saying "Boy, I'm glad I am not THAT guy anymore." This reflects growth not self-hatred.
Robert Wang said the work is a suicide mission for the ego.
Crowley said that love is the reason for this most ruthless analysis. Damn straight.
Someone doing the work should be feel responsible without being neurotic. They should self-analyze without being cruel. Killing the little personality (ego) is impossible and counter-productive as it has its uses. However, one should sublimate the little personality or direct its energy/urges in useful and beneficial ways.
Assume every thing that happens to you that you think is negative is true at least long enough to seriously think about it. If some friend of an ex tells you how badly you hurt someone ten years ago and you thought things ended as well as could be expected, go back over things. Think about it. Don't just reject it because you don't want to admit a negative thing could be true. Do this every time the world shows you something negative. Hard? Yes. Do most people want to do that? No.
When you think other people are doing something negative, look to yourself, have you ever done such a thing? Do you do it often?
This stuff is hard but if you want to climb the Tree, I believe it is necessary.
So, why didn't I mention the good stuff? We often think the little ego is good. Hey that jerk tried to beat me down and I stood up? Great. Good for you. What if he was right? The good stuff becomes apparent in time. Like a good fucking, the process is long, slow and hard. You should be dripping with sweat when its done. Completely. Utterly. Satisfied. You don't get there stroking yourself.