an albatross around your neck
albatross (a)round (one's) neck
A heavy burden that prevents one from achieving success. The phrase refers to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, in which the narrator kills an albatross—a large white bird deemed an omen of good fortune. This act is thought to curse his ship, so he must then wear the albatross around his neck. The old property became an albatross around his neck as the costs of repair and renovation began to skyrocket.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
an albatross around your neckBRITISH, AMERICAN or
an albatross round your neckBRITISH
If you describe something as an albatross around your neck or round your neck, you mean that it causes you great problems from which you cannot escape, or it prevents you from doing what you want to do. Being the son of a major criminal was an albatross around my neck. He agrees the song is a musical albatross around their necks. Note: This is a reference to the poem `The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in which the character who shot an albatross (= a large, white sea bird) has to carry the bird hung around his neck.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012