In Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” the main character Gregor is transformed into a gigantic insect. This grotesque change surrealistically dramatizes just how foreign Gregor finds his own inner being. Gregor’s alienation from the core of his personality is the result of living in a family in which no one knows who he is. They give the appearance of a concerned family and they maintain this illusion so successfully that no one recognizes that no one cares.
To protect himself against being overwhelmed by loneliness, Gregor goes along with the others, ignoring his longing to be personally valued for himself alone. He sacrifices having a personal self of his own and settles for becoming what others expect him to be.
Having lived most of his life as an impersonal false self, he fears that the emergence of the real one can only lead to total annihilation. Living an unbearably empty life, eventually he is reduced to feeling nothing more than a wish to die.
A self obsessively divided between illusion and reality is always a maintenance problem.