Crawled into their shells - Idioms by The Free Dictionary
crawl into (one's) shell (redirected from crawled into their shells)
crawl into (one's) shell
To retreat into one's mind or otherwise isolate oneself so as to avoid undesirable thoughts, situations, or interactions with people. After getting mugged, I crawled into my shell and didn't speak to anyone for nearly a week. I'm not good around large groups of people; I usually just crawl into my shell and wait until I can be alone. Don't crawl into your shell because you don't want an argument—talk to me and let's discuss the problem!
References in periodicals archive
Yet England crawled into their shells
and refused to come out.
Walter Smith must be worried because the very people who stepped up to the plate last season now appear to have crawled into their shells
They were too predictable, they crawled into their shells
and that has been the story in our one-day cricket for too long.
The two openers that had been so assured of their big-hitting ability the day before, crawled into their shells
on a sluggish pitch and became uncertain.