Can you provide examples of figurative language emphasizing extreme pain for use in a short story about child abuse?

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Yes, we can help with this.

There are two general ways to approach this. The first way is to approach this from the experiential end of things (the actual facts and experience of abuse). The other is to approach it from the creative writing side of things.

Start with the actual experience. You would want to read accounts from people who have been abused, or talk to them if you know them. Your goal in doing this is not to take anyone's experience and put it directly into fiction, of course, but to get a sense of what is common, how people talk about abuse, and so on. That would give you a general feel for how to write about abuse, and help you think about where/when you want to use your figurative language.

The other way to approach this is from the creative writing side. You can look for ways to unify the images. For example, if your story is set in winter, you can use that as a backdrop. All of your metaphors of abuse can either be based around cold, to blend with the setting, or heat, to contrast. You could then have fingers of ice, places that have gone numb with the winter storm of abuse, body parts that are stiff like mud covered with frost, etc.

Or you can just choose the most painful points and intensify them. A slap to the face might become an attack, a lightning bolt, a betrayal, etc. A hand placed where it shouldn't be could be a theft, an autopsy, etc.

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Perhaps, there are two conditions of pain for the child suffering from abuse. One, of course, is the actual physical pain that is subsequent to incidents of abuse; the other is the psychological pain that exists to disturb thoughts and behavior, as well as the imagined pain that occurs in the child as he/she fears or anticipates actions against him/her.

  • In order to describe the physical pain, then, metaphor and simile can be applied. For instance, the child may describe the pain in terms of being like something such as stinging as though entrapped in a bee hive, or likehaving the car door shut on my legs (or other body parts that have been struck), like falling on bricks.
  • The pain can be metaphoric:  The fire of aching, a pounding from a spirit with a boxing glove, church bells clanging in my head, a dark monster of hurt.
  • Imagery can be used for the dreams or imaginings of pain or fear-: Color imagery can suggest different sensations: black and blue fear, bursts of red and orange in my head
  • The descriptions of the abuse can be hyperbolic:  I was hit a thousand times, my head throbbed all month, the mop flew at my right ear.
  • Personification can describe the actions of pain: A charging monster trampled me, horrible claws grabbed me 

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