tie someone in knots

tie (one) (up) in knots

To make one confused, anxious, worried, and/or upset. I've been planning to propose to James on Sunday, but the nervousness is tying me in knots! It's something about the austere, imposing way the boss speaks that always ties everyone up in knots.
See also: knot, tie

tie someone in knots

or

tie someone up in knots

If someone ties you in knots or ties you up in knots in a discussion or argument, they confuse you by using clever arguments, so that you cannot argue or think clearly any longer. He could tie her in knots in an argument and never once missed an opportunity to prove his intellectual superiority. He had easily tied her up in knots, cleverly casting serious doubt on her mental faculties.
See also: knot, tie