Have The Tiger By The Tail Meaning

(idiomatic) To be in a difficult or dangerous situation in which one ideally should not remain, but from which one cannot withdraw.

Example: 1965, Frank Herbert, Dune, Berkley (2005), ISBN 9780441013593, page 225:
  "We have the tiger by the tail," Paul whispered. "We can't go down, can't land…and I don't think I can lift us out of this. We'll have to ride it out."