Discover How Your Attachment Style Affects Your Boundaries (And How EFT Tapping Can Help)

Understanding how to set healthy boundaries is more crucial than ever. But what if our ability to establish these boundaries is influenced by something deeply ingrained within us and we don't even realize it? Many studies suggest a link between our attachment styles and our ability to set boundaries – a link that affects how we manage stress, relationships, and our self-esteem. This blog post explores how Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Tapping can be a powerful tool in overcoming the challenges posed by our attachment styles, leading us toward a more empowered self.


In a world where the lines between personal time and work-life blur, understanding how to set healthy boundaries is more crucial than ever. But what if our ability to establish these boundaries is influenced by something deeply ingrained within us and we don't even realize it? Many studies suggest a link between our attachment styles and our ability to set boundaries – a link that affects how we manage stress, relationships, and our self-esteem. Our ability to establish and maintain healthy boundaries can greatly affect our emotional health, mental health, and well-being. This blog post explores how Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Tapping can be a powerful tool in overcoming the challenges posed by our attachment styles, leading us toward a more empowered self.

Understanding Attachment Styles

Attachment theory provides a framework for understanding how our relationships with caregivers in early childhood influence our emotional development and behavior in adulthood.

Photo: Xavier Mouton Photographie

These experiences shape our expectations in relationships, affecting everything from how we communicate to how we set boundaries with others.

“A securely attached child will store an internal working model of a responsive, loving, reliable care-giver, and of a self that is worthy of love and attention and will bring these assumptions to bear on all other relationships.
Conversely, an insecurely attached child may view the world as a dangerous place in which other people are to be treated with great caution, and see himself as ineffective and unworthy of love. These assumptions are relatively stable and enduring: those built up in the early years of life are particularly persistent and unlikely to be modified by subsequent experience.”― Jeremy Holmes, John Bowlby and Attachment Theory

How Attachment Styles Form

Attachment styles are influenced by a combination of early childhood experiences like whether or not we had stability in terms of how our parents cared for us, the behavior of caregivers and how they solved problems with us and even disciplined us, and various social and environmental factors. Understanding your attachment style is the first step toward recognizing how it may impact your boundaries.

Defining 4 Different Attachment Styles

Secure Attachment:

Having a secure attachment is an advantage in the world of relationships although around 60% of us have that given many complex family dynamics.

Photo: Fernanda Greppe

People with this kind of attachment tend to walk into a room and think, "I'm okay and you're okay too," which makes them pretty great at forming bonds. They don’t struggle much with the worry of not being liked or the fear that they might end up alone because they have this inner confidence that tells them, "I can make friends, and I can keep them."

"How does it form? Babies form secure attachments when their caregivers consistently fulfill a baby’s physical and emotional needs. Babies who are securely attached prefer their primary caregiver over other people and are calmed by their presence." --Cleveland Clinic.

It’s not that they never face problems in relationships; rather, they have this knack for navigating through rough waters calmly and confidently. They are able to navigate through life, feeling secure and comfortable in getting close to people, knowing that they're both going to be alright no matter what.

Anxious Attachment:

When someone has an anxious attachment style, it means they often worry about their relationships. They might feel like they're not sure if the people they care about really like them back.

Photo: Canva

This can make them want to hear from these people a lot, asking for kind words and signs that everything's okay between them. Imagine feeling like you need a constant reminder that your friends and family are still there for you, that they haven't forgotten you or started liking you any less.

"How does it form? Babies whose primary caregivers aren’t consistent in meeting a baby’s needs are more likely to form an anxious attachment. Anxiously attached babies learn that they may or may not get the attention they need, so they aren’t easily comforted by their caregivers."-- Cleveland Clinic.

It's like when you're younger and you keep checking to see if your best friend is still your best friend. People with anxious attachment really value their relationships and sometimes just need a little extra assurance that they're loved and appreciated. It's important for them, and everyone, to feel secure and happy in their connections with others. They might fear abandonment or losing people close to them so it makes them cater to others' needs over their own.

Avoidant Attachment:

People with an avoidant attachment style often like to keep their feelings under wraps and prefer to handle things on their own, rather than depending on others.

Photo: Sebastian Romero

This means in friendships or romantic relationships, they tend to keep a bit of a distance, making sure they can still do their own thing and not get too tangled up in someone else's emotional world. It's not that they don't care about others, but they really value their independence and might worry about getting too close to someone else and getting disappointed or hurt.

"How does it form? Avoidant attachment is most likely to form when a caregiver doesn’t provide a baby with sufficient emotional support. The caregiver’s responsiveness to the baby most likely ends with caring for their physical needs, like feeding and bathing, but the caregiver doesn’t provide the emotional comfort the baby also needs. In that environment, the baby learns not to rely on others to care for their emotional needs." ---- Cleveland Clinic.

They can come off as very self-reliant and confident, managing their own problems and rarely asking for help. While this might make them seem a bit distant or detached, in their view, it's just their way of staying in control of their own life and not depending on others.

Fearful-Avoidant (Disorganized) Attachment:

When someone has a fearful-avoidant attachment, imagine it like wanting to jump into the pool because it looks fun, but also being scared of the water. They can act more anxious or avoidant depending on the relationship and attachment style of the other person as well.

Photo: Canva

People with this type of attachment really want to be close to others and feel loved, just like how inviting the pool seems on a hot day. But, just as someone might be afraid of not knowing how to swim, these individuals worry about trusting others completely. They might make friends and then pull away, afraid of getting too close, much like hesitating at the edge of the pool. This can make relationships feel like a confusing dance—one step forward and two steps back.

"How does it form? Disorganized attachment often forms through a particularly tumultuous childhood — often one that may be marked by fear or trauma. It typically stems from an erratic or incoherent relationship with the baby’s primary caregiver."-- Cleveland Clinic.

Imagine wanting to join the fun but also fearing you might sink. The key is learning to swim—in this case, finding a balance between closeness and personal comfort, so eventually, the water no longer seems so intimidating.

Impact of Attachment Styles on Personal Boundaries

Different attachment styles can significantly affect how we perceive and establish boundaries.

Secure attachment relationship to boundaries:

People who have a secure attachment style are really good at dealing with relationships, whether it's at home with family or at work with colleagues.

Photo: Canva

They know how to set clear limits, which means they can tell others nicely but firmly what they're okay with and what they're not.

For example, they make time for both work and play, so they don't end up feeling too stressed or tired.

At work, they're the kind of person who can say no to an extra task if they already have their hands full, without feeling guilty or worried about it. At home, they are great at giving time to their family and friends, listening to them, and making them feel valued, but they also make sure to spend some time alone or doing things they love, which helps them recharge.

This balance helps them build strong, happy relationships with others while also taking good care of themselves.

Anxious attachment relationship to boundaries: 

Understanding the anxious attachment style helps us navigate interactions with care, both at home and in the workplace.

Photo: Canva

Anxiously attached individuals often seek constant reassurance and fear being abandoned, which shapes how they relate with family and colleagues. At home, they might worry excessively when a family member seems distant, interpreting this as a sign of being unloved.

They tend to ask repeatedly for affirmations of affection or may become clingy. In the workplace, this attachment style surfaces as a need for continuous feedback from peers and superiors, fearing that silence or a lack of communication equates to dissatisfaction with their performance.

They might also struggle with setting boundaries, fearing that saying no could jeopardize their relationships. Recognizing these behaviors is crucial for fostering understanding and support, ensuring that our personal and professional environments are nurturing spaces for everyone, regardless of their attachment style.

Avoidant attachment relationship to boundaries

Individuals with an avoidant attachment style often prioritize independence and self-reliance, both at home and at work.

Photo: Canva

They might seem as if they prefer to keep to themselves, steering clear of deep or emotional conversations. In a home setting, someone with this style may have a hard time openly expressing their feelings or needs, opting instead to deal with challenges on their own.

They value personal space and may seem distant even to those closest to them. Similarly, in the workplace, these individuals might shy away from teamwork or close collaborations, favoring tasks they can accomplish solo.

They approach professional relationships with caution, often maintaining a polite yet reserved demeanor. Understanding and respecting their need for space can foster a healthier engagement with them, allowing for the gradual building of trust and openness.

Fearful avoidant attachment relationship to boundaries

Individuals with a fearful-avoidant attachment style often navigate their personal and professional lives with a unique set of behaviors, rooted in the push and pull between desiring close relationships and fearing intimacy.

Photo: Canva

At home, they might show deep love and affection one moment and then suddenly withdraw, creating confusion among family members. This behavior stems from their internal struggle, fearing rejection or getting too emotionally involved.

In the workplace, they might keep colleagues at arm's length, rarely sharing personal details or fully trusting others, yet they can be extremely dedicated and passionate about their work. Such individuals seek approval and recognition from their peers and superiors but might also fear criticism or being deemed inadequate.

Understanding this complex attachment style can foster better communication and stronger relationships, acknowledging their need for both independence and connection, while gently addressing their fears and establishing secure, respectful boundaries.

The Consequences of Lacking Boundaries

Without clear boundaries, we may experience a range of negative outcomes.

Photo: Adrian Swancar

Emotional Ramifications:

Feeling overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities, leading to increased stress levels and anxiety and possibly burnout if not addressed.

Difficulty in saying no to additional work or favors, resulting in feelings of being taken advantage of or exploited.

Constantly seeking validation and approval from others, as the lack of boundaries blurs the line between personal and professional validation.

Physical Manifestations:

Experiencing stress-related health problems such as headaches, digestive issues, or muscle tension due to chronic stress.

Feeling constantly fatigued and drained from overextending oneself without setting limits on workload or personal time.

A compromised immune system, making us more susceptible to illnesses and infections due to the constant strain on the body from unresolved stress and imbalance.

Social and Relationship Effects:

Being taken advantage of by colleagues or friends who exploit our inability to assert boundaries, leading to feelings of resentment and frustration.

Engaging in unhealthy relationships characterized by imbalance and codependency, where personal needs and boundaries are consistently overlooked or disregarded.

Experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness as a result of prioritizing others' needs over our own and neglecting opportunities for meaningful social connections and self-care.

Introduction to EFT Tapping

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What is EFT Tapping?

EFT Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Techniques, is a therapeutic modality rooted in the principles of psychophysiological intervention. It encompasses a methodical application of psychological acupressure, melding elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with somatic stimulation.

This technique operates on the premise that emotional distress and psychological disturbances are intertwined with disruptions in the body's energy system, as posited by traditional Chinese medicine. By strategically tapping on specific acupoints located on the body's nervous pathways, we can ground and restore balance, thereby alleviating stress and emotional turbulence.

EFT Tapping employs a structured approach wherein we articulate distressing thoughts or emotions while simultaneously engaging in tactile stimulation of acupressure points. This process is designed to facilitate the reprogramming of maladaptive cognitive patterns and emotional responses. Through the integration of cognitive restructuring techniques and somatic activation, EFT Tapping endeavors to promote much bettter psychological resilience and emotional regulation.

The Science Behind EFT Tapping

Research suggests that EFT Tapping can reduce cortisol levels and improve stress-related biomarkers, providing a scientific basis for its effectiveness. EFT Tapping has garnered attention within the scientific community, with studies highlighting its potential efficacy in mitigating symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, and trauma-related disorders.

Neuroscientific investigations have elucidated mechanisms underlying its therapeutic effects, suggesting modulation of limbic system activity and stress response pathways. Additionally, psychophysiological studies have evidenced alterations in markers of autonomic arousal and emotional processing following EFT interventions.

In sum, EFT Tapping represents a multifaceted therapeutic approach that integrates cognitive, somatic, and energetic principles to address emotional distress and promote psychological well-being. Its empirical foundation and growing body of research underscore its potential as a valuable adjunctive intervention in the realm of mental health treatment and stress management.

EFT Tapping Sequences for Different Attachment Styles:

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The great aspect of EFT is that it's versatile. When we recognize the multifaceted nature of attachment styles, Tapping offers a customizable framework tailored to address the distinct challenges associated with each style.

Whether we identify with anxious, avoidant, or secure attachment patterns, targeted tapping sequences can be used to help us manage our attachment style and reinforce our boundaries.

The great news is that whatever the resistence or fear that comes up with putting boundaries in place or even negative feelings associated with them, EFT can help.

Anxious Attachment Style:

For people with anxious attachment style, EFT Tapping sequences can sooth fears of abandonment, cultivat self-compassion, and fostering a sense of inner security. For many of us with anxious-leaning attachment styles, putting boundaries in place can bring up feelings of guilt, worry that someone will be mad at us, or that they will reject our boundaries when we try to be assertive and create conflict instead.

Avoidant Attachment Style:

Conversely, people who exhibiting avoidant attachment patterns may benefit from EFT Tapping protocols aimed at dismantling barriers to intimacy, fostering vulnerability, and cultivating authentic connection. Through targeted tapping sequences, we can confront deep-seated fears of dependency and intimacy, paving the way for healthier relational dynamics.

Fearful Avoidant (Disorganized) Attachment Style:

Since these people can exhibit traits from both anxious and avoidant, EFT can be helpful to navigate the fears of rejection, abandonment, feelings of guilt or shame around being assertive, fears of communicating needs, and connecting with others.

Secure Attachment Style

For people with a secure attachment style, EFT Tapping serves as a tool for reinforcing existing boundaries, bolstering self-esteem, and nurturing resilience in the face of interpersonal challenges. By harnessing the principles of emotional regulation and somatic awareness, individuals can cultivate a steadfast sense of empowerment and agency in their relationships.

In essence, EFT Tapping offers a nuanced approach to boundary reinforcement and empowerment, tailoring interventions to the unique needs and attachment dynamics of each person By integrating cognitive restructuring techniques with somatic activation, individuals can embark on a transformative journey towards greater self-awareness, relational fulfillment, and emotional well-being.

Maintaining Healthy Boundaries Through Continuous EFT Practice

Photo: Canva

It's important to maintain our emotions surrounding boundaries on an ongoing basis. When we incorporateEFT routines and setting achievable goals, we are better equipped to master life's ups and downs with clarity and resilience. Regular EFT tapping sessions boost our self-awareness and emotional regulation, giving us the tools needed to handle interpersonal dynamics effectively.

Daily EFT routines are our cornerstone for reinforcing boundaries. They allow us to address stressors and emotional triggers before they overwhelm us. By committing to a consistent tapping practice, we can better manage our emotions, show ourselves compassion, and reinforce boundaries in our personal and professional lives.

Building a strong support network of people who respect our boundaries is essential. Surrounding ourselves with supportive allies who value personal autonomy fosters empowerment and solidarity. Whether they're friends, family, or colleagues, this network acts as a buffer against external pressures and setbacks.

Setting realistic goals related to our boundaries helps us solidify our commitment to boundary maintenance. By defining clear, achievable milestones, we can track our progress, celebrate successes, and adjust as needed. This empowers us to take control of our boundary-related efforts, promoting growth and resilience over time.

In essence, learning to maintan healthy boundaries requires a comprehensive approach that includes daily EFT practices, supportive relationships, and strategic goal-setting. By treating boundary reinforcement as an ongoing journey rather than a one-time task, we can build resilience and navigate life's challenges with grace and integrity.

Conclusion and Summary

EFT Tapping offers a promising approach to overcoming the challenges posed by these styles, leading to improved emotional health and stronger boundaries. By embracing EFT, individuals can embark on a journey towards self-discovery, healing, and empowerment.

“The good news: We can start practicing new skills in life anytime we want. Here are some examples of things I'm always practicing:
1. How to say what I mean, as simply as possible, and not make people guess (even if I think they should).
2. How to reach out when I want to shut down.
3. How to just let myself feel sad, lonely, confused, a mess, when I would rather do this thing I always do and check out.
4. How to not be impatient or careless with the feelings of people I love.
5. How to listen and not try to solve someone else's problems.
6. How to take a break when I'm overwhelmed, and promise to return to the conversation a little later.”― Allyson Dinneen, Notes From Your Therapist

Are you interested in being able to create better boundaries in your life without the fear, overwhelm and self-doubt that comes along with it? Schedule a free consultation with me now! 

ANDREA HUNT - Online Transformational Life Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner based in Munich, Germany

I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK  and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals).

If you're not sure where to start transforming your life, you can download my free ebook on How to Start Your Personal Growth Journey.

Are you ready to change your life, let go of old beliefs, empower yourself for a mindset shift to move forward? Mel Robbins says: You're always one decision away from a different life.

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