paint yourself into a corner
paint (oneself) into a corner
To create a predicament or unpleasant situation for oneself whereby there are no or very few favorable solutions or outcomes. I really painted myself into a corner by leaving this essay till the last minute! The candidate painted himself into a corner during the debate, having to take back several things he'd already said.
paint yourself into a corneror
box yourself into a corner
If you paint yourself into a corner or box yourself into a corner, you create difficulties for yourself by your own actions. The Government has painted itself into a corner on the issue of equalising the State pension age. You've boxed yourself into a corner, haven't you? You have no one to blame but yourself. Note: You can also say that someone paints you into a corner or boxes you into a corner, meaning they force you into a difficult situation. You'll fight to the death when you're boxed into a corner unless you're provided with a reasonable way out. Note: `Paint someone into a corner' refers to someone who is painting a floor and ends up in a corner of the room with wet paint all round them. `Box someone into a corner' refers to a boxer being forced into a corner of the ring and having no way of escaping.