What is the meaning of [My hands are tied]

This phrase should not be taken literally. You say this proverb when you can’t do what you would like to do. For example, say you are in charge of an office and everyone (including you) wants to celebrate someone’s birthday. But your boss tells you it’s against the rules. You could tell your coworkers, “Sorry, my hands are tied.” You would like to have a birthday celebration with them, but you can’t.