Maixin Research

Demographics. Geopolitics. Innovation.


The Privacy Regret

Discussing Demographics

In 2009 I observed that Millennials don’t see value in privacy, even though privacy has historically been valuable. I predicted that Millennials would later regret valuing their privacy. Within five years of this prediction, we began seeing sentiment shifts back toward favoring privacy, though I caution people that this shift hasn’t even fully started yet. Privacy is important for multiple reasons. People tend to assume that privacy only matters because it protects the person who’s privacy is in tact and this isn’t true. Privacy is also important because it strengthens focus.

The below story is based on a true story with changed details showing why privacy matters. Rather than from the view of “respect the individual” we see this story from the view of “mind your own business.” This story relates to Millennials because Diedra is viewed by Millennials as a victim who’s lived through an abusive husband, unsupportive father, and difficult work environment. But how would Millennials come to this conclusion about Diedra if they didn’t involve themselves in other people’s affairs? The irony of this is that the person who has to be involved in some of Diedra’s affairs due to a familial relationship (her daughter Jessica) knows that Diedra is a liar.


Most people who meet Diedra feel that she has experienced a tough life. She would tell you that she has struggled in poverty, been rejected by family and friends, and had an abusive ex husband. However, her story is a complete sham.

Diedra married a man named Gary that her father cautioned her would be terrible. Gary lacked ambition. This created a conflict between Gary and Diedra, as Diedra didn’t want to work at all. After their marriage, Diedra immediately set into motion her plan: she wanted to be a stay-at-home wife. Gary felt skeptical: they both shared household chores, so what would she be doing all day? Diedra realized the importance of having babies to justify her desire to avoid work.

Over a period of seven years, Diedra had 5 children – Sarah, Jackie, Jessica, Courtney, and Melissa. As Diedra had kids, she realized that raising kids involved more work than she expected. This contradicted her desire to avoid work. She also saw a declining standard of living as Gary’s lack of ambition meant that she had a lower capacity to consume. After Courtney was born, Diedra began manipulating Gary by overspending his income (which she referred to as “family income” even though she earned none of it). She hoped Gary would feel the pressure to take a second job. Gary did not and the manipulation resorted to major fights.

Diedra also needed someone to take care of her kids, as she hated working. She lacked money because Gary didn’t feel ambition, so she cultivated a friendship with a kind woman at church named Melanie. Melanie loved to serve other people and Diedra immediately exploited this desire by having Melanie care for her 4 (later 5) children four days a week. With time to relax, Diedra also had several affairs on Gary and found two lovers. She became pregnant with her 5th child and began pressuring Gary to work more hours. Gary responded and worked more hours while feeling less happy about his life’s direction.

Ten years into this situation, an event shook Diedra. Gary had enough of his current life and he quit his jobs.

Diedra felt horrified that her husband didn’t work. The result of Gary’s decision to quit meant that Gary and Diedra moved back closer to Diedra’s parents and Diedra lost Melanie as a caretaker of her 5 children. In addition, Diedra’s lovers were no longer around and she became intolerable to Gary. She punished him for taking away her lovers and free caretaker of her children (though she never said this explicitly to avoid divorce). Gary didn’t understand her anger or pouting and they had major conflicts.

Even though Gary felt a season of change in his life, he recognized his wife and kids needed support. He worked another two jobs to make ends meet. These jobs felt more fulfilling to him, but Gary made half of the salary he made before the move. This lack of resources angered Diedra and she began looking for a new source of free money.

Since Diedra was near her father (Adam), she began manipulating him. She expressed disappointment in her husband while adding that “You [Adam] are the only man who’s ever really loved me.” Given Adam’s good nature, he believed Diedra. She used him to get a position at his job with a salary above her level of experience. She had no skills, but because of him, no one could question her lack of skills. In addition, she discovered that she didn’t need to work at all, as Adam would always defend her. Everyone at her job respected him, so she exploited this.

Six years later, a conflict erupted between Gary and her daughter Courtney. Courtney agreed to move out, but Diedra jumped on the opportunity to divorce Gary. Since Gary’s income had been rising, she appealed to the court to grant her alimony (her last child was already graduating, so child support was out of the question). In a rare ruling, the judge did not grant Diedra alimony pointing out that Diedra had a college degree and had chosen to avoid working throughout her life, except for the past six years. This angered Diedra and she vented to Adam about the “unfair” ruling after her divorce.

Since Adam was a loving father, he bought Diedra a new car, a house, and provided her with any financial assistance. Since Diedra didn’t need to actually work and now had a free house and car, she continued avoiding responsibility at her job. She knew Adam would continue to cover for her laziness. But Diedra’s ex-husband, Gary, didn’t know she had received financial support from Adam and as a good man he paid Diedra more than she would have received from the court had they granted her alimoney. Gary felt that she had done well by taking care of their daughters throughout their marriage (he had no idea that Melanie was the real caretaker) and that paying Diedra a large monthly income would be the appropriate action to take. Diedra now had two sources of income outside her job – Adam and Gary.

It was at this point that Diedra’s third daughter, Jessica, discovered this money Diedra received from Gary by stumbling across a check. Jessica also learned from Adam how much monthly he would pay to support Diedra. Jessica had discovered significant deceipt and began digging into this, questioning many of Diedra’s past stories. Since Jessica still knew Melanie as a second mother, she talked with Melanie about her mother Diedra. Jessica learned that Melanie loved Diedra because Melanie believed that Diedra had an illness. Jessica realized that Melanie had thought that Diedra had been suffering from an illness the entire time Melanie helped raise Jessica and her sisters. Jessica knew the truth though: Diedra had never been ill. Jessica never revealed that she knew this to Diedra, but Jessica did find it odd that Diedra would gossip and criticize Melanie when Melanie wasn’t around (Diedra still pretended to be her friend). Jessica couldn’t help but feel sick at how much of a monster her mother was.

And Diedra’s fraud didn’t stop. Even though Diedra had two sources of money from Adam and Gary, she needed to ensure that she locked in a third source of income. Diedra’s oldest daughter Sarah was a very successful business woman who ran two businesses and was also engaged to a great man who she loved, Jason. Diedra realized that Jason was a threat because he felt skeptical around Diedra and had even mentioned to Sarah at one point (when Jessica was around) that “Something doesn’t seem right about your mom.” Diedra also needed to lock in Sarah’s money, as it would go to children if she married Jason. She began working on undermining Sarah’s relationship with her fiance. Within a year, Sarah had called off the engagement and Diedra began manipulating Sarah for money.

After destroying Sarah’s possible marriage, Diedra’s father – Adam – died. With Adam’s death, Diedra could no longer avoid work and she lost an ongoing source of income. Even though Adam had supported Diedra for the past decade when she pretended to have financial emergencies, he had millions in retirement. Since he had 7 children, he dispersed his funds to all of his children equally, except Diedra. In his will, he mentioned his support for Diedra along with buying her house and car and pointed out that she had received her percent of inheritance in her lifetime while he was alive. This really angered Diedra. She began criticizing Adam in front of her children, but around her brothers and sister, Diedra pretended to respect Adam’s decision.

But Diedra wasn’t going to get nothing in inheritance and she began manipulating family members. She talked about how Gary, her ex-husband, abused her, even though this was a lie. She said that Gary had prevented her from working, even though this was a lie. But none of these lies worked until she came up with the best lie of all. She said that because of her poverty level, she didn’t see a doctor for a “medical issue” that caused her trauma. It worked! Other family members felt guilty, and Diedra was awarded with a share of the inheritance total. Some family members even gave her some of their share and mentioned to Jessica, “We hope your mom uses our funds for her medical issue – we’re so sorry.” As Jessica learned of this support and fraud, Diedra had already moved onto her next target – locking down the funds of Sarah with a new sad story.