tie somebody/yourself in knots

tie someone (up) in knots

Fig. to become anxious or upset. John tied himself in knots worrying about his wife during her operation. This waiting and worrying really ties me up in knots.
See also: knot, tie

tie yourself in knots

or

tie yourself up in knots

If you tie yourself in knots or tie yourself up in knots, you make yourself confused or anxious, so you are not able to think clearly. The New York Times editorial page tied itself in knots trying to find the correct tone with which to treat the matter. Catherine is tying herself up in knots with worry because nine-year-old Alice has school phobia.
See also: knot, tie

tie somebody/yourself (up) in ˈknots

become or make somebody very confused: The interviewer tied the Prime Minister up in knots. He looked a complete fool.He tied himself up in knots when he tried to explain why he had lipstick on his face.
See also: knot, somebody, tie