yoke around neck
yoke around (one's) neck
An oppressive, debilitating burden. (A "yoke" in this context is a heavy frame or harness usually fitted around the necks of draft animals to pull carts, plows, or other loads.) I wish I had never bought that house. The mortgage on it has turned into a real yoke around my neck. He finally realized that he was in a toxic relationship, and he vowed to free himself from that yoke around his neck.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
yoke around someone's neck
Fig. something that oppresses people; a burden. John's greedy children are a yoke around his neck. The Smiths have a huge mortgage that has become a yoke around their necks.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.